Single release: 'Disco' by Swazi Gold
Release date: Out now
Label: Research Records
More info: Band website
Formed by the chief songwriters from Melbourne bands Crepes, Dreamin' Wild and Sagamore, Swazi Gold brings old friends together. Chris Jennings and Sam Cooper grew up in the Victorian coastal towns of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, while Tim Karmouche was an inland man, hailing from Ballarat in the state’s north-west.
It’s this togetherness that’s at the heart of Swazi Gold’s debut album, 'Jehovah’s Whispers', out on 1st March 2019 via research records. There are six songs, two created by each member; through true collaboration and participation. Nothin’ but a democracy there.
The first single from the album is 'Disco', written by Jennings. He says the song is about, “moving to Melbourne and seeing how we’ve all changed. We’ve all come from these bands that were heavily influenced by the coast and were our hometowns. They’ve changed a lot. We’ve kind of stopped being from the coast,” he says.
Listen to Disco here.
Driven by a sassy disco beat, the song name-checks towns dotted along Victoria’s western coastline. These places, like Leopold, Portarlington, Bellbrae and Torquay, are the former homes of Swazi Gold. The final places, and indeed the final words uttered in the song, are better known international hubs—like Barcelona, London and Berlin—suggesting the mainstreaming of worlds in moving to the big smoke.
On 'Disco' and 'Jehovah’s Whispers', Swazi Gold draw on their collective love of Nigerian funk, American electronics, and quirky, melody-driven pop music to explore the spaces between conventional genres. Artists ranging from the likes of Haruomi Hosono and William Onyeabor to JJ Cale and Harry Nilsson form the reference points that the give light to the band's creative spark.
‘Jehovah’s Whispers’ was recorded in a single weekend in 2017 at the Cooper’s family home in Ocean Grove, and captures the deep friendship between the three members.
Lyrically, the remaining five songs address a range of themes, from the realisation of personal limitations to seeing a thriving country town fade to nothingness. There’s also a brooding one in there for anyone who’s ever been ripped off.
'Jehovah’s Whispers' proves the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And in amidst the love and equality, Swazi Gold’s debut album still packs a punch.
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