SWINGIN’ UTTERS: Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones: CD

The Swingin’ Utters have never been afraid to travel in strange directions musically. Throughout their past few albums, they’ve blended Pogues-influenced Irish folk songs with Stiff Little Fingers-style punk rock, but added all kinds of wrinkles to that sound. They’re not afraid to throw in a banjo, accordion, mandolin, or whatever else they can get their hands on, into a song. Dead Flowers even has a vibraphone in it. And really, I can’t think of any punk band that’s made music this diverse and multi-layered since the Clash. This new album pushes the envelope even on the precedents that the Swingin’ Utters have set for themselves. The songs are really all over the place, from folk songs to ballads to hints of early Swingin’ Utters street punk. The album is so varied that, at times, it’s hard to imagine that one band wrote and played all of the tunes. And it’s this type of variety that has me undecided about this album. I like it, even with its multiple personalities. At the same time, I miss the full guitar sound that earlier albums had and I know that and I’d still rather spin the Swingin’ Utters’ Juvenile Product of the Working Class or Five Lessons Learned than this new one.

 –sean (Fat)