This Routine Is Hell is no more. The Dutch quartet recently decided to operate under the band’s name Swain as they’ve felt they changed as individuals but also as a band. That being said, let’s just focus on the music. On a personal note, their previous record Howl was by far my 2013 favorite record and I’ve been waiting since then for more material from these guys. It’s thus with high anticipation that Heavy Dancing, their new 4-track EP, came to my ears.
As their moniker changed, so seems to be the new music they reveal on this very short EP. It’s a thin musical variation though, but a fairly appropriate extension of their previous album(s) to say the least. You’ll still find on these four tracks the pessimistic and unkind attitude certified by TRIH. That band has been around for quite a few years now and on everything they released so far, they seem to naturally tend towards a renewed vibe. With a guitar tune sounding quite dissimilar in regards of their old material, such on opening track ‘I Weep For Mankind’, Swain uncovers their new outlook. Title track ‘Heavy Dancing’ sounds distorted and quite unalike but displays a fast-paced scheme that really quickens the pulse.
Slightly switching the old punk sound and introducing a grungier tone seems to be the main indication here. It’s also most likely that Bram and Boy’s escapade with The Kids’ Crusade really had an impact on that progression. One must note that Noam’s shouts sound still real rough and aggressive while the presence of parsimonious backing vocals passes more depth to the tracks (‘I Need Some Space’). Lyrics also remained pretty sharp and delightfully acerbic, as reflected with that memorable line: “Because first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes wishing you had been miscarried” on the raging closing track ‘Vaarwel’.
To concisely resume the whole thing, Heavy Dancing is brief enough for Swain to cleverly make a transition between their earlier sound and the new path they’re heading to. These new tunes are simple, yet really coherent and enjoyable. It’s a guarantee of good things to come for the rest of their ride and we most certainly will be looking for what they are going to bring next. This Routine Is Hell is dead, long live Swain.
1. I Weep For Mankind
2. Heavy Dancing
3. I Need Some Space
Written by Alex Tabankia