There's something raw and stirring about the bass-driven raps and reeling lyrics on Annie Gallup's Swerve. "Money" covers the directionless escape of the singer after finding her lover's car parked on the wrong street in front of a darkened house. She sings, "I didn't leave a note/I didn't think I had to." The lyrics of the stripped-down "What I Know" flow freely, describing her boyfriend's apartment in language worthy of an urban Walt Whitman. Like Whitman, she also doesn't bother to make her words rhyme. Instead, they're propelled by her breathy voice, the thump of the bass, and steady drums. These songs cover the overfamiliar singer/songwriter terrain of relationships, but their sonic attack and edgy delivery render them fresh. "One Two" begins with a dream, a carefully aimed gun, and a bullet "clean through the toe of your boot." This is a fascinating, though perhaps bizarre, way to begin a song about commitment. One can only hope when listening to songs like "Three Bills" that they aren't autobiographical. These bass-driven numbers are stuck between more standard folk material, like the viola-flavored "Georgia O'Keeffe" and the faraway "Absecon Bay." The dreamy guitar on this latter song perfectly reflects the lyric of a self-deluded traveler. "The Sky" expresses doubts about the power of poetic language and is set to the tune of a bluesy country-flavored harmonica. These songs are fine, but sag a bit beside the sonically driven ones. For those who have already tuned into Gallup, Swerve will be most welcome; to the unfamiliar, this is a great place to start.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.