Sweeder – Swallowed By the Sun

4 out of 5

Label: Monitor

Produced by: Brian Deck

Sweeder was a short-lived Chicago band comprised of a trio of Chicago post-rock regulars, seemingly giving it a go at their own thing. The talent in the room is clear, and the balance of strings, and catchy, bass-led hooks, and blasts of guitar call to mind a slew of scenesters from the time, such as Rex, or Rachel’s, with also scenester Brian Deck there to produce, giving the record his typical warmth and urgency. Every song on Swallowed By the Sun is quite gorgeous and accessible, with an edge due to the group’s willingness to go heavy with noise at points, and Chiyoko Yoshida’s warbling, lilting vocals – expressing emotion and desperation without being overwrought. 

But there’s a curious quality here also: for as good as all these songs are, and how relistenable the album is, there’s something very “by the books” to the whole thing, from that vocal tremble to each swerve into distortion. It feels honestly effected – that is, Sweeder comes by it honestly, with everyone presumably just being so in tune with the Chicago post-rock scene – but it also feels like a hint as to why there was only one album by the band, and definitely holds the disc back from perfection. Sweeder is, in other words, just going through the motions. The motions are done very convincingly, so it maybe doesn’t matter, except that Sweeder very likely won’t be the first band that comes to mind when listening to their brand of post-rock pop.