There are times when you sit down to listen to a record where everything simply falls into place, where anything that might be otherwise perceived as a technical limitation instead is just texture – in short, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Swallow Your Concerns, the new offering from Cincinnati’s Resonator, is one such example. Concerns, the latest release and first full-length from the band, continues where their self-titled EP left off. Resonator melds a blend of modern garage, blues, and indie rock that would – and very easily could – sound tired and overdone were it not for how effortless and natural it sounds on tape.
As the gritty guitar on the fades in on the opening track, “Next To You,” giving way to the bass riff and snappy drums, the listener is hooked before the vocals even start. The bombastic “Leave Me Alone” showcases the band’s power without relying on an artificially “heavy” aesthetic. “Open Up,” a starkly quieter track by contrast, starts with a cleaner, but not clean, almost-in-tune guitar, strumming out the opening riff, giving the first verse’s vocals plenty of room to shine, and the song a lot of room to grow.
“Glendora,” the early release single from the album, is a fun, energetic, almost “pop” track with a major earworm of a hook, while still maintaining the same “too-loud band next door” motif that makes the record so much fun.
The ¾ time “Narrow Line” brings the tempo back down, and reveals some of the finest lyrics on the record – a feat made all the more impressive by being juxtaposed against quotes of a few lines from Sam Cook’s “Bring It Home To Me.”
The closer, “Can You Hear Me,” with its stripped-down acoustic foundation and surprise trumpet accompaniment near the end has the feel of a good mid-to-late-90s hidden track, but instead of feeling superfluous, it instead feels like a private listen into the process of writing and recording with Resonator.
If you’re a fan of The Black Keys, The Greenhornes, or any good “plug in the guitar, turn it up, and play a song” kind of rock & roll,Swallow Your Concernsis the kind of record that will satisfy.
1) Next To You
2) Leave Me Alone
3) Open Up
4) Natural World
5) Modern Man
7) Narrow Line
8) Can You Hear Me