Swingin’ Utters – Fistful of Hollow

  • Dustin Blumhagen posted
  • Reviews

Swingin' Utters

Fistful of Hollow - Fat Wreck Chords

There is a definitive sound that comes to mind when you think about blue collar punk rock and roll. Bands like Street Dogs, Knucklehead and Dropkick Murphys have created a sound that blends English street punk with Americana and folk influences, bridging the gap between Woody Guthrie and The Clash. The band that arguably best exemplifies this sub genre is the Swingin’ Utters, a great punk group that isn’t afraid to turn down their amps and sing a campfire song now and then.

Fistful of Hollow starts off strong, with the catchy Agonist, which wears its ’77 punk influence like a badge. It has a bouncy guitar line that sticks in your head and snarled lyrics that would make Johnny Rotten proud. Both Alice and the title track are straight forward punk rock songs, played fast and loud. The sauntering End of the Weak is a reprieve from the fast pace; a slow folk song with banjo accompaniment. They explore garage rock with I’m Not Coming Home. The guys go pop on Tibetan Book of the Damned, an interesting song that looks back at the heyday of AM radio and catchy melodies, in direct contrast to the lyrics about the end of the world. The spirit of The Clash is alive on Napalm South, a fun song musically that seems designed for barroom sing alongs, despite the bleak lyrics. Johnny Bonnel’s vocals are road worn and comfortable, a defining part of the Utters’ sound. Lyrically Fistful of Hollow explores dark existential themes over raw punk music, like Springsteen if he’d listened to more Stiff Little Fingers.

The group have experimented with their sound a little over the past few releases, but Fistful of Hollow is a comprehensive look at the Swingin’ Utters sound, drawing in their various influences into a cohesive album experience. They have always played their brand of street punk with passion, but this is the best release from the band since the 90s.