Label: A-F Records
Released: 27th April 2018
Anti-Flag’s A-F Records are on fire at the moment, and hot on the heels of Spanish Love Song’s exceptional ‘Schmaltz’ comes Pittsburgh indie-punk quartet Swiss Army, and their equally captivating ‘Paris Mountain’.
Yet this is no mere retread of past successes for the label, instead pushing them into math-rock tinged emo territory. For Swiss Army’s part, they don’t seem like an exact fit for the punk rock label either – but by golly do they like a face-melting riff to back up the considered lyricism. In a crowded marketplace, it’s more than enough to make them stand out.
Consequently, Swiss Army live on their own in some nicely-crafted niche; too serious when compared to Rozwell Kid’s eccentric and infectious noodling, and far too direct when set against Into It Over It’s contemplative musings. If written down and explained on paper, it would probably raise a few eyebrows. Swiss Army – on cuts like ‘Privilege Is’ and ‘Do You Have Any Soul At All’, which come armed with a strong social message and some fierce licks – make such a marriage between style and substance seem second nature.
In the more reflective moments – ‘Ghost House’ is a classic slow-burn, for example – the group’s lyricism is afforded the chance to shine, making eloquent points about relationships and society at large without resorting to cheap sloganeering. Elsewhere, the group pushes the boundaries of their sound; ‘Landmarks’, with its almost incidental backing and louche vibe, builds to a pulsating conclusion, while ‘The Say The Sun Came Down’ is a meandering epic condensed into a three-and-a-half-minute pop song.
Over the course of 10 songs, ‘Paris Mountain’ showcases the strength in Swiss Army’s versatility, drawing on a wealth of styles and influences to make a cohesive whole. Throw in the socially-driven lyrics and an emphasis on betterment, and it’s an album of sugar-rush highs and considered and meaningful depths.