On the heels of Swell's eponymous LP, 1992's ...Well? finds the band -- founded by frontman David Freel and drummer Sean Kirkpatrick -- operating as a foursome with the addition of bassist Monte Vallier and guitarist John Dettman. The eclectic, electric, and dynamic set averts the sophomore slump despite the occasional distraction of lounge singer Richard McGhee, who mumbles his way through a couple of interludes, including "Intro." With such diversions out of the way, Freel takes center stage on "At Long Last," giving a stellar vocal performance that heightens the song's deep, intoxicating groove. Revisiting moments like this, bolstered by Dettman's roaring axe, Swell deliver on the promise of early alternative rock. Elsewhere, inventive tracks like "The Price" -- echoing 1960s psychedelia -- and the country-touched "Down" show a band evolving unhindered through these ten original tunes.
by John D. Luerssen