There was a point in the early 2000s when commercially the Swollen Members were the kings of Canadian hip-hop and did the impossible, garnering attention south of the border. The group’s catchy songs were being played all over Much Music and the radio, culminating into a platinum album. And then it may have felt like the group disappeared. If you haven’t been paying attention to the Vancouver-based group, it may come as a shock that the trio’s newest release Brand New Day is Swollen Members’ eleventh album.
The 37-minute-long album is filled with dark, unpredictable references and beats that sound horror movie-esque, with the song “Blood Sport” encapsulating all three.
In terms of lyrics, Madchild overshadows Prevail in almost every way. While Prevail seems directionless in his writing, Madchild’s hardcore lyrics fused together with stories of his struggle with addiction make for an interesting mix. Over a smooth piano beat on “Park Bench” Madchild by himself turns in one of the album’s best with lyrics like, “Red line, razor blade gang, I’m an outlaw / Crack jaw, you won’t see it coming, hit you south paw.” Subjects on the album vary from Star Wars, Voltron and Smokey the Bear. The title track serves as a reflection for the group on its decade and a half career with lyrics like, “We orchestrated what no one has done from our coast.”
The album does offer some low points, including the cringe worthy song “Cock Blocker” and overall there seems to be no sense of direction on what the group is trying to get across.
On Repeat: Brand New Day, Park Bench // Production 2 // Lyrics 4 // Creativity 3 // Flow 4 // Overall 3
Cameron Da Silva