Richard Swift

Album Title: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort
Release Date: April 19, 2005
Genre: Alternative
All this talk about '80s-revivalists and how garage bands really just ripped off '70s rockers seems to have gone straight to Richard Swift's head. Not only did it give him an idea, but he decided to upstage every last one of them. Soaring past the '80s, '70s, '60s, hell, right on past 1940, Swift's goal is to resurrect the golden age of Tin Pan Alley. Released as a double disc-set by Secretly Canadian, The Novelist/Walking Without Effort are Swift's first and second album, original drooped in 2004 and 2001, respectively. "Foreward" sets the tone of what's to follow, sounding like it's pouring out of a decrepit gramophone in a seedy bar in late 1920s New York. The vocals are pushed into the background, smothered by layers of cotton, and cheeky tempos and piano solos call for the feather-headband garbed ladies to dance the Charleston.

Out of the two, Walking With Effort sounds more modern, but it's still has the multi-layered, tarnished, aged elements that Swift plays up even more on The Novelist. Both discs have their highlights, and it's nice to see how the California artist progressed from Point A to Point B. Richard Swift's work is definitely worth checking out and following as he takes it even further, if even just for the break from the ordinary. Hot Hot Heat and the Killers reach for synthesizers to go retro, but Richard Swift grabs the flugelhornóand the result is more intriguing than all the '80s-revivalists and their trendy haircuts put together.

Writer: Jaclyn Arndt

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