“I hit the crumbling town,” Kyle Gilbride sings on “Future Hell,” the gripping new song from Philadelphia punk band Swearin’. Gilbride sounds lost and leery as he sings, narrating his own stammering journey through a landscape of mishap and misfortune. “People seemed like they were somewhere else.”
In the five years since Swearin’ released their last album, the band has broken up and subsequently reunited following the romantic split of twin lead singer-songwriters Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride in 2015. Their new album Fall Into the Sun, their best effort to date, utilizes a variety of narrative approaches to reflect and reckon with pain and conciliation.
Anchored by Crutchfield’s infectious grunge riff and Gilbride’s dynamic bass playing, “Future Hell” takes a less straightforward approach with its impressionistic, borderline surrealist lyrics. Instead of waxing nostalgic or confronting past demons head-on, Gilbride instead explores alienation and disorientation with a series of disjointed images and anecdotes that hint at wandering and self-discovery. “I walk the purple trail til blue,” he sings wearily. “Thinking, ‘The fortune told true, this time.'” But after three minutes of seemingly aimless wandering, Gilbride arrives at something of a moving revelation: “Sometimes we chose our father,” he sings. “That’s what stayed.”