Out of the rain soaked industrial lands of Portland, Oregon come Swords, with their highly touted new record, Metropolis. After garnering much attention from their first two releases (an EP and one full length), this six piece dropped the word “Projects” from their name, and return with their most ambitious release to date.
After reading about Swords, one is led to believe that they are the next incarnation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra or perhaps Phish, channeling spiritual influences far beyond the realm of human consciousness, constructing them into streams of organic enlightenment. But after a few spins I came to realize they are a mortal rock band, extremely talented but victimized by what was meant to further their mark in the industry: hype.
The aptly titled Metropolis tackles the complexities you might find in one; the duality of politics, commercialization, and loss with those of human connections, playfulness and hope. The effort may seem a little pretentious, and the band a little overrated, but Swords does utilize their talents well, constructing intricate audio mosaics and layered rhythms as heard in “The Mark,” or the beautiful guitar subtleties and delightfully gloomy imagery of “Family Photographs.”
This being said, it seems as though they are a record away from deserving such accolades. Something is missing, and it may be that mysteriously indelible hook or epic track that brings it all together, and so Metropolis falls short of its potential.
Other meanderings from Davis – “As Drummond collapsed near the toilet, his aortic valve constricted one last time pushing the final bellows from his thora,x riding the aquatic vortex of waste into the metaphoric undercarriage of the city. Its bowels, a complex network of sewage arteries, clogged with the greasy byproducts from the virus-like inhabitants that aimlessly meander above, unaware of their impending doom. Poor ‘ol Drummond.”