REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Swell's David Freel returns as Be My Weapon with uneven and overly-experimental second

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

The artist formerly known as Swell disappears into a fog of sonic exploration as Be My Weapon that dulls former glories


Be My Weapon - ¡¡Greasy!! (OUT 28TH APRIL)

¡¡Greasy!! (nope, me neither...) opens with 44 seconds of abstract dissonance titled
'Distracted By Insects' that whilst mercifully brief sets an alarming course that ex-
Swell mainman Daniel Freel largely sticks to on his second album as
Be My Weapon. There's flashes of past glories throughout that are all too often masked by his evident delight in adding a grating layer of electronic experimentation aloft his old hallmarks of distorting stoner vocals, sloppy drumming and acoustic slacker singalong. Take
'Black Roses' which boasts all of those but buries them beneath an oom-pah-pah keyboard squelch or the overpowering scratchy sonics and rotating siren synth of
'Loaded Gun' or the sound of several kitchen sinks being thrown on
'We're Going To Be Heroes'. Happily there is some mid-album respite from the experimental clutter as whilst
'Heroes Continued' gets increasingly rowdy as it progresses, at its heart it is a relatively straight forward slice of acoustic grunge and all the better for it. Even better is
'Please Pardon Me' whose driving guitar may bear a more than passing resemblance to
'I Summon You' but goes on to layer in flourishes of organ wobble, some sweet female backing vocals and fairground ride keyboard solos that add up to the best song here; sonic experimentation in harmony with the melody for a change. And it is almost sustained with
'From Sea To Shining Sea' which comes pretty close to being a lovely distorted
Wheat-esque lullaby but falls short with by some infuriating censoring, each expletive bizarrely bleeped out. From the man who once sang
'Fuck Even Flow' it's simply maddeningly disruptive. Elsewhere there's the mis-matching of Jimi Hendrix guitar scales with off-kilter piano plink on '
The Reason We Got Named' which sounds like two different ideas hastily cobbled together; the overwhelming keyboard noodlings of
'We Know You Know We Know' which leaves you yearning for some guitar but is swiftly countered by the all-too abrasive guitar of
'Smart Ass Dumb' and the closing seven minutes of beige ambient noise that is
'GPS?'. So tinkering with a formula you've grown tired of I get but ultimately for me, 
¡¡Greasy!! just weighs too heavy on the testing end of the scales to be any more than uneven and intermittently successful.