A change in direction for Salford’s SWINE off of the back of 2020’s pummeling ‘Gazza B’, their new Valentine’s Day single ‘No Fightin’ is one that’s got me thinking. Snarling riffs are replaced with undertones of Ska laced with ‘Surfs Up’ era Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in the verses. It’s slick, bouncy, and an intriguing left-turn from the down-the-barrel punk ethos I’ve come to expect from the last 2 years of SWINE releases.
However, do I really feel engrossed by what follows in the choruses, and do I really feel myself wanting to get stuck into more of this avenue SWINE are taking us down? Potentially.
First and foremost, I want to be clear that there is more of this track that I thoroughly enjoy than not. Lacing their punk energy with oompah verse rhythms and psych-tinged staccato guitars is well executed and a refreshing change in style that I have to commend them for. In the verses, ‘No Fightin’ is a real treat of a track, and it becomes very easy to relax into what you’re listening to; your head and shoulders start to sink into the very groovy backline. You feel very much at one with the narrative of the track, and almost cradled by the delicate guitars that balance on the tightrope between rocking you to sleep and riling you into a frenzy.
And it’s that ‘frenzy’ that I just want a bit more of to make this track a full and unbridled success for SWINE. Where I wanted, or expected, an explosion I got a party popper. That may come across as harsh for someone who will willingly admit is a fan of this track on balance, but perhaps just to take this new avenue of SWINE to its peak the choruses could do with some of the grit and guts that SWINE have exhibited already in tracks like 2019’s ‘They Hate Us’.
The change in direction the band has made has obviously come from musicians that are capable of making that transition, there’s no doubt about that. Perhaps, though, it might’ve been at the detriment of what I really like about SWINE. There’s a middle ground that I feel ‘No Fightin’ could be the introduction to, and as and when SWINE find that sweet spot they might just go from putting out releases that I enjoy to releases that I love. Overall though, SWINE (from their first release to this one) should be a band on your radar in 2021.