“The Lift” is the new single from Southern California hard rock merchants Swirl and the four piece delivers another thoroughly satisfying and hard hitting hard rock It’s a song much like those we heard from the band on their recent self-titled EP and the songs included on last year’s Ditch Day soundtrack – Swirl’s songwriting typically packs a message rather than relying on the same assortment of tired clichés powering attempts from lesser talents. It’s quite a relatable track and sports production illustrating a strong intuitive understanding of what memorable hard rock should do and sound like. Swirl has made a name for themselves on the backs of their superb original material, but as a live band too opening for acts with long histories and substantial followings like Skid Row, Extreme, and Ratt, among many more. The Southern California area is a traditional hotbed for hard rock and Swirl carries on in that tradition with a muscular sound and great songwriting.
D.T. Jones’ axe work doesn’t have the same high gloss those familiar with Swirl’s self titled EP will remember from those songs. Instead, Jones takes a more classic rock approach, ala Aerosmith or some similar band, and keeps his guitar tone largely devoid of the same effects we heard on those earlier tunes from the band. Instead, he maintains a soulful crunch in his six string bite and solos with great coherence and fluidity. His work syncs up in tasty lockstep with the drumming and Shane Carlson’s bass playing complement both the guitar and drums. This is a performance and writing job illustrating, perhaps better than anything else, how far the collective and individual talents of this band have evolved since the band first came together in the early 2000’s. They sound increasingly confident and mature with each new release while retaining the youthful spark helpful in making this sort of physically engaging music fly as high as possible.
The lyrical content is another area where Swirl stands out compared to modern hard rock acts. Many possess an outright retro quality that mark them more as a homage or pastiche of a bygone era, but you’ll never be able to pin that identity on Swirl. Regardless of message, the bottom line of many Swirl tunes is what it means and costs to be a human being, alongside why it’s worth it to pay any price in pursuit of being true to yourself. Alfred Ramirez is an important factor in the band’s recent successes and his importance is enormous with this track as well. He brings these lyrics to life and tempers anything possibly strident in their message thanks to the intimate, yet entertaining way he conveys the lyrics. Swirl’s “The Lift” continues the band’s fine 2017 with a single that consolidates their strengths while distancing themselves from the past in an artistically healthy way. It’s undoubtedly going to finish this year as one of the best hard rock tunes of 2018.