It’s only just been unveiled this weekend (to coincide with what I believe was their first show) but SWALLOWING’s debut “Songs for the Saved” demo is already one of my favourite listenables this year.
Taking an approach based in repetition and dynamic contrast that has clear roots in the hallowed dirges of early Swans records and maybe Khanate, they’ve pulled off the trick of adapting to that simplistic/brutalist template without sounding like they’re copying either. It’s a tree with surprisingly short branches for the simple reason that many of the bands who do it (Strongboss, Hissing Choir, Bodycop) either flicker out remarkably quickly or immediately find themselves stuck in a box that’s fun to dip into but seemingly impossible to think outside of.
I suspect Swallowing may, in future, be able to escape that trap though provided they actually last longer than a year. This is deceptively simple but I suspect was written and planned out a little more meticulously than you might suspect. Placement is everything here, and when you have two songs that are 12 and 19 minutes respectively and revolve around relatively primitive themes, you really have to be focussed on what you’re doing to prevent tedium setting in. SWALLOWING know what they’re doing. I suspect the name is an attempt to describe what they’re trying to do with the music, envelope you completely. There’s no real “riffs” in the traditional sense, but the bludgeon is easy to get lost in.
So yes, two songs, 31 minutes or thereabouts (the physical copies apparently contain a third track which is a noise loop), 50 copies, and hopefully a bright future. Best thing I’ve heard from the UK in quite some time. Buy/Download and absorb at your earliest convenience.