It's been awhile since I listened to a brand new punk rock album. The classics get plenty of plays, but it is rare that I check out anything new when it comes to punk rock. Swingin' Utters are by no means a new band, but their LP Poorly Formed certainly is. After hearing the title track on XM radio I decided to give this record a shot and I might as well do a review while I'm at it.

I am admittedly pretty unfamiliar with the music of Swingin' Utters. I've see the name for as long as I can remember and have heard them on various compilations, but the only material I actually own from them is their BYO split with Youth Brigade. I can't say I've listened to that in recent memory so Poorly Formed was almost like a complete re-introduction to the band.

Straight out of the gate Swingin' Utters does not sound like I remembered. Album opener "Librarians Are Hiding Something" shows the band has a punk base, but is heavily influenced by pop rock. If it were up to me the sounds projected on Poorly Formed would be what is universally described as pop punk. It is much more tolerable than whiny voiced songs about girls that the most popular pop punk bands are known for. There is also a considerable country influence on this record, most notable on the obviously titled "I'm A Little Bit Country". Other songs present acoustic and folky passages that add to the overall appeal of tracks that otherwise fall flat. Add to that some Irish influences and you have a rather eclectic album.

A lot of the material on Poorly Formed reminds me of older bands like The Dickies or The Vibrators. They are by no means mirror images of either band, but the way they incorporate pop sensibilities brings to mind those bands. Swingin' Utters seems to walk a thin line between making music accessible to the mainstream, but whether intentional or not, they seem to reign it in just enough to keep their underground cred. There is one song that sounds straight off the radio though and that is the last track "Sevita Sing", but don't take that as a bad thing. I think it is a quality closer to good record. I'm not about to go back and find all of Swingin' Utters back catalog, but Poorly Formed is a record I'm glad I picked up.