West By Swan
The unquestionable dons of the Chico indie rock mafia have finally coughed up their debut, self-released CD. This neatly packaged, well-recorded eight-song offering provides a less obstructed view of the band than the often organ-rattlingly loud live shows. As with West By Swan live, the guitars (courtesy of the Greenfield brothers) are the stars, intermingling seamlessly over Conrad Nystrom’s thick bass and Daniel Taylor’s sparse drumming. Unlike the live shows, where vocals seem more sporadic and simianesque, Greenfield’s voice is more prominent and intelligible. WBS is obviously good at what it does, bringing to mind a more laid-back blend of Sonic Youth, Television and even Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd. However, where bands like SY (or Polvo or Mission of Burma) can blast off unpredictably to unknown planets, West By Swan never quite leaves the Earth’s atmosphere, making this disc a cool trip, but not quite otherworldly.