Dressed Up For The Letdown
Californian native Richard Swift has sent a buzz through the music press on both sides of the Atlantic, part of the reason why a tour of the UK is scheduled for June despite having completed a set of shows on these shores as recently as March. This is his first official release in this country, following on from two outputs available in America.
The splitting of the record into sides labelled 'A' and 'B' harks back to a time of vinyl being cutting edge technology and certainly seems less relevant when presented on compact disc. The title track, "Dressed Up For The Letdown", features a string section that very briefly sounds like the theme to James Bond, before giving way to a smooth acoustic strum briefly interrupted by blasts of brass. The relaxing mood is carried through to "The Songs Of National Freedom", carried on an upbeat piano and bass combo that highlights soothing harmonies. The sweet feeling continues, noticeably in "Most Of What I Know", which makes the deep ivory of the sombre "Artist & Repertoire" all the more surprising. Displaying Swift's versatility, it ends abruptly just after the two minute mark.
Thankfully the second half of the album begins in more optimistic fashion. "Kisses For The Misses" is a light rock'n'roll number that stomps along enjoyably and features a complimentary middle eight section of piano and electric guitar. The standout moment of the record, it means the tracks that follow pale in comparison. Archetypal sweeping strings characterise "Ballad Of You Know Who", which outstays its welcome and by the time of closing song "The Opening Band", it has become a tiresome listen. Swift may have received high praise in some quarters, but it is difficult to see why on this evidence and commercial success seems highly unlikely.