Swallows New Album In the Shadow of the Seven Stars

I fell in love with Swallows with the first video from this album for Ultraviolet. You will too. The full album (In the Shadow of the Seven Stars) comes out on March 19 (with an online release show) – but before then there are debuting videos on March 12 and March. So they’re gearing up for a big week.

We spoke with most of the band: Aaron Kerr (bass, cello, piano), Brett Hansen (electric guitar, lap steel, backing vocals), Jeff Crandall (lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, organ), Mike Nordby (mandolin, percussion) and Tyson Allison (electric guitar). They play together in a few bands. Each band has a very different sound and it seems that they pick up different skills and sounds from each band that in turn make all of the bands richer. Specifically it sounds like they have built up some improv muscles that made it easier to go for it with this album.

This is a creepy but cool concept album. It starts with the real death of Frances Coles, who was murdered by Jack the Ripper 130 years ago. From there they together (but separately) constructed a story of a bystander who watched the murder and became haunted by the death. The main figure both chases the murder, flees the ghosts and worries that maybe he was the murdered. Talk about your psycho-thriller rock opera. Whoa.

Jeff started with the idea and challenged his bandmates to help continue the story. They did, they recorded is (7-8 years ago) and have been tying the pieces together. There is a storyline now and that opens the door to a range of musical styles from Rolling Stones blues (Dead and Gone) to punk (Watertight) to an almost tribal heartbeat drum (Ultraviolet). Each song is a different ethos but together is plays like a journey. The are moments of big sound and rocking and catchiness and there are moments of negative space and offset and lift up the music with a undercurrent, sometimes of broodiness, otherwise eeriness.

It’s a story! Now they just need a filmmaker to take on this job of turning this into a full production.

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