Glenn Milchem is a busy guy. He and his wife, Monica, have recently introduced a baby boy into the world, he’s drumming for Blue Rodeo, and last but not least, this diligent musician is fronting his own side project, the Swallows. Yes, Milchem has got his proverbial hands full, but he does a mighty fine job at balancing it all.
Formed solely by Milchem in 1997 and now functioning as a four-piece, the Swallows have bestowed us with a fourth studio album titled Demystified. For an alt-country record, Demystified is very accessible, even with Milchem collaborating with the electronica group Holy Fuck and singer-songwriter Andrew Cash. The first half of the album sticks to a pop formula. Thankfully, Milchem’s vocals fit well with the music and drummer Brad Kilpatrick takes on the percussion with ease. Guitars are handled by Milchem and Dean Drouillard. At times, the interplay between both musicians is fascinating and, coupled with some great keyboard action by fellow Blue Rodeo member Michael Bugoski, the entire album comes into fruition.
The second half of the album is more country, which is a welcome change. Nevertheless, Demystified flows from start to finish, from the fuzzy guitars and powerful vocals of “Shoot Out Sparks” and “Outside the Wire,” to the slow musical transition of the album’s closer, “The Day is Upon Us,” a song that is part ballad and part country love song in which Milchem preaches, “If you’re acting like a fool to try to shame / You can’t blame us.”
Demystified is a great foray into pseudo-country rock. Although drawing from many influences, the band still manages to make a sound they can call their own, resulting in a very accessible album.