Richard Swift

Richard Swift as Onasis

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Richard Swift keeps his chameleon tendencies neatly organized by utilizing the age-old art of the alias, a trajectory that (whether it's meant to or not) helps to protect listeners who may be unwilling to follow him out of his familiar lo-fi/chamber pop disguise and into more challenging projects like 2007's ambient Instruments of Science and Technology and the following year's garage rock clean-out Richard Swift as Onasis. Swift, like many a cash-strapped artist, spent his formative years honing his craft on a four-track cassette recorder, a medium he has yet to give up on that's beloved for its financial and creative freedom, as well as its high yield. Richard Swift as Onasis is raw, fun, noisy, and occasionally beautiful, but it's not-so-subtle blend of Link Wray, Ween, and your first high-school band bears little sustainable fruit. To his credit, Swift makes no allusions to the project's cultural weight, and taken with a case of sh*t beer, a hot September night, and a few friends, songs like "German (Something Came Up)," "Phone Coffins," and "Whistle at the Bottom of a Shoe" might cause you to rifle through your vinyl collection in a mad search to discover what long lost Stax B-side he cribbed the riff from, but in the end these nuggets are best left in the smoke-filled bedroom from whence they originated.

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