Richard Swift: Buildings in America 7″ (Velvet Blue Music, 2002)

by Brent

Richard Swift Buildings in AmericaFor numerous months now, on independent music message boards, and on cd inserts, we’ve read the name Richard Swift. He’s been hyped as the next great musical act to come out of California. And, it appears that the hype may be warranted, after all, with the first official release of his solo material (after appearing as a background musician with such bands as Charity Empressa, Duraluxe, Cush, and Starflyer 59).

With three tracks and numerous odd little noises and voices between tracks, Buildings in America comes across almost like a mini ep. The title track is the first song, and it is a meandering ditty that sprawls out into full, 60’s instrumentation during the song’s climax. Complete with the combination of beach boysesque and opera background vocals, this song is certainly unique, and despite all of the different sounds, works quite well. Swift combines an intriguing mix of musical skill with healthy dose of humour, both in the lyrics and in the music itself. “Buildings in America” is a delightful song with a memorable melody, and before you know it, the song disintegrates into odd random cabaret sounds.

Flip the record.

“Jimmy”, though written by the late, great Gene Eugene, is the song that really displays Swift‘s musical talent. He turns an already poignant and beautiful song into a stunning and moving entity. Song over a delicately picked acoustic guitar, with some random percussion by Frank Lenz, Swift croons “Jimmy” with sensitivity and reverence to the song and the writer of the song. Well worth the money alone. The song ends with a drum machine and keys coming in the last few seconds, providing sonic cohesion when compared to Side A. The final song on this record is not really a song. Just odd little noises, fused together. It works, though, and before you know it, the album is done. It feels like a 5 song ep, with all the little creative touches Swift adds to the two proper songs. And in the end, Buildings in America achieves what all 7″‘s set out to achieve: 1. It features catchy songs and 2. Leaves you wanting oh so much more. Get this.

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