The Casual Lean

Swears

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    5
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The Casual Lean's debut album is unexceptional indie rock lacking much in the way of interesting tunes, lyrics or arrangements. On the other hand, Swears is affiliated with no particular circa-2007 musical subgenres, so at least the New Bedford, MA quintet aren't trying desperately to sound like the new Fall Out Boy or the next Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, so that's something. Unfortunately, the band's sorta-punky, sorta-dancey aesthetic falls between two stools: Swears is neither angular and jagged enough to appeal to the new wave revivalists, nor angsty and bombastic enough to sway the emo kids, which leaves songs like "Keep It On" sounding oddly flaccid and half-hearted. Parts of Swears, like the spirited opener "The Bride," get over based on the band's youthful enthusiasm, and album highlight "Cut the Kite" features singer and keyboardist Justin Oliver's most interesting vocals, particularly on the rhythmically loose verses, but this is a difficult album to work up much enthusiasm over.

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