Tasmanian band A. Swayze & The Ghosts present a powerful debut with Paid Salvation. Stylistically ranging somewhere between indie, (post-)punk and garage rock, the album bristles with youthful energy. Andrew Swayze’s vocals are accompanied by pounding guitar downstrokes and a driving rhythm section, as is usual for the genre. 

Many influences, and possibly homages, are evident. The title track wouldn’t feel out of place on a Hives album. The guitar riff that kicks off ‘Mess of Me’ is a slight variation of the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK, while the second half sounds more like the Arctic Monkeys. Nevertheless, helped by a lo-fi production, the band manages to sound fresh. 

Many of the songs are critical of society, addressing topics such as gender inequality or religion. ‘Connect To Consume’ tackles dependency on social media, defying influencers and selfie lovers with the great line Sorry Roger Daltrey, but fuck my generation”. 

In a tongue-in-cheek way, Swayze has said he wants to become as big as David Bowie – a welcome attitude for a new band. Perhaps one small downside to this album is that it was not released earlier into the year – its uplifting mood would have made a great soundtrack for the summer.

Mike Stebens, Music Contributor