Marshall Gallagher appears to be finding his stride as Swing Hero with his grunge inspired EP ‘You’ve Never Been So Alone’. The tracks on this EP are progressively more thoughtful; you can feel their development from an early dependence on layered grunge guitars, which are especially prominent in the first track ‘Interest’, through to a more contemplative and wistful vibe. This allows Gallagher to showcase his hugely relatable lyrics, most effective in ‘Home is Where You Fake It’. This is not to say that the big production value guitars are lost; their heavy rock essence continues to frame the tracks, as they are incorporated into Gallagher’s personal brand of contemplative rock as opposed to just being an ode to the Seattle movement.
Along with its obvious nod to the alternative scene of the 90s, there is a clear link to emo-rock of the late 90s-2000s. This is evidenced in the moody lyrics; one needs to look no further than the EP’s title ‘You’ve Never Been So Alone’, a line pulled from the slow grunge dream jam of ‘Grown Up’. This coming-of-age angst seems to be matured and less whiny than earlier examples. This in part is due to Gallagher’s clear soul-filled vocals which take their time to enrich the track, penetrating through the instrumental production, avoiding being swept into incoherency, as is often a trope of alternative genres.
This is not to say that the tracks lack a raw edge, as thankfully they are not over polished and therefore retain some of the distortion of a live experience. These distorted guitar moments steal the show in the first and heaviest track ‘Interest’, but really hold their own in the other two tracks. This coupled with eerie repetition and vocal delivery is what makes this EP something special. Far from some of the overly experimental indie tunes at the moment, this EP does not try to do too much, drenched in a nostalgia for alt music it has that classic grunge vibe coupled with a fresh wistful edge.
For Fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Hawthorne Heights, Dashboard Confessional and My Chemical Romance