REVIEW: Fans Review Louden Swain’s ‘Splitting the Seams’

Courtesy of Lindsey, Staff Writer

Much like our recent Swain Series, we asked fans to contribute for the release of Louden Swain’s new album, Splitting the Seams, and to review the album, which released today, October 26.

Fans answered two questions, what their overall opinion was, and what song they loved the most. Read on below to see their answers! Make sure to purchase a copy of the album, which you can do on Amazon, ITunes, GooglePlay, Louden Swain’s website, or anywhere that sells music!

What is your overall opinion of the album?

Jennifer (@macd1982): “This is hands down my favourite Louden Swain album to date. I love the way they took their existing songs and changed them just enough to make them different, without taking away what we loved about the song originally. The addition of instruments they don’t generally use (like strings and trumpet) was subtle but also enhanced the songs so much. I was honestly so nervous when I first heard they were doing new arrangements of their songs for this album but after hearing it (many, many times at this point), I love it so much more than I even thought possible. It is utterly fabulous.”

Dean (@ChucksVessel): Splitting the Seams is definitely one of their best albums. It’s so beautifully done and each song has it’s own elements of greatness. Between the horns and strings on some of the tracks, it’s just a masterpiece plain and simple. It put itself into my top favorite Swain albums the second I heard ‘Overachiever’. It’s a work of art really.”

Mary (@pare6386): “I absolutely love the new album, I was fortunate to pre-order it and got the cd early. I feel that the album flows very well, the songs are a different and much welcomed take on some fan favorites, and the introduction of some new favorites (‘Too Far Away’ – I’ve been in love with this song since I heard it). I love the updated take on the songs, especially ‘Trigger Finger’ with the country twist, the yee-haw makes me smile every time, the softer take on ‘Amazing’ is a brilliant interpretation, and the ballad interpretation of ‘Rock Song’ is the perfect end this great mix. I find myself singing along to all the songs all day long with or without them playing. Kudos to the band on this amazing album.”

Anje (@rathofkain): “It’s an amazing companion to the 20+ years of albums. The growth and maturity is there while keeping true to the original recordings. The new twists on songs like ‘Overachiever’, ‘CA Nation’ and ‘Mamma’s Jam’ make it such a fun experience to listen to.  It turns into an emotional journey when I listen to ‘Another Fool’, ‘Too Far Away’ and surprisingly ‘Rock Song’. ‘Trigger Finger’ re-imagined was a surprise and I will never be over Billy and his shoe – almost makes me feel like I’m listening to a vendor jam with the playfulness.”

Angélique (@Angie_Voyage): “AMAZING. It’s really interesting to hear new arrangements to the songs we already know and love. It takes us to a different place emotionally, even though the songs remains the same, it gives it a more mature experience. Adding the violins in ‘All I Need’  for example, s so pure, and completely changes the song. Some changes are just really cool to hear like the spoken verse in ‘CA Nation’. I can’t wait to hear it live at Rockwood!”

Courtesy of Lindsey, Staff Writer

Shannon (@reelnerdy): “I absolutely love it! It’s now my favorite album of theirs. I hope this album helps take them to the next level and gets more fans that appreciate and love their music. I let a coworker borrow the CD for her drive home after work one day and my drive home felt so lonely. I was having withdrawals until I got it back from her the next morning.”

Sebastian (@firebucklemming): “Overall thoughts on the album are is that it is completely different. I think that when people think of ‘acoustic’ they think just an acoustic guitar and vocals. Swain has completely redefined what acoustic means to me. I am in love with it. The guys and everyone involved did an amazing job.”

Kathie (@NurseKathie): “I bought the album at the SPNCLE convention. I had already preordered the album, but I couldn’t wait another week and I had a 5-hour drive back home ahead of me. I quickly realized this is not just an acoustic throw down of the original tunes. This album is so much more! New renditions of beloved Swain songs poured from my speakers. I knew the words and could sing along happily but the arrangements were different, and it was like falling in love with a long-time lover all over again. The percussion Stephen used in ‘CA Nation’, the cello and trumpet throughout, beautiful back up harmonies from the band, and Rob’s melodic voice carrying you away. I have spent the last week and half falling in love with this album and even more in love with this band.”

Kim (@KimSaysSmile): “Just when I think Louden Swain cannot outdo themselves they go and release this album!  I LOVE acoustic versions of songs so I knew I would love this album…..but they completely blew me away! Every song has a slight new twist to it and I love that!  I love the raw emotion you can hear with the vocals and the strings add something special.  This very well may be my new favorite Swain album!”

Brianna (@gabrielskazoo): “This album is honestly the most amazing piece of art I’ve ever heard. It’s so refreshing and raw. It’s new, it’s beautiful, and it perfectly describes the guys. You can hear them growing older and wiser with the new arrangements and added symphony but not losing their youth. ‘Splitting the Seams’ That’s everything. But it’s not just breaking the songs down, it’s completely starting over and creating a whole new one. It’s insane, I’ve never heard anything like it. I’m just so proud of these guys it’s unreal. Listening to the album is like being on a cloud of happy! It’s indescribable.”

Arlene (@acmabry3): “Loved the album! I’ve really just discovered LS thru SPN and love the band the more I listen to them. The music, vocals, everything about the album is great! I’m singing and tapping my way through each song. Love, love, love it.”

Dawn (@dawndawn77): It is a testament to the band’s amazing musical talent that by adding strings and piano, and changing the tempo and feel of the songs made them new and gave them a different meaning. ‘Trigger Finger’ has a foot tapping bluegrass feel with the elements of fiddle & banjo. ‘Ready Steady’ becomes a song of heartbreaking hope and yearning. ‘Mamma’s Jam’ gains a happy, jazzy feel. ‘Rock Song’ becomes a haunting ballad of regret, missed chances, and growing old that we all can relate to.
Marlena: “I adore the new arrangements. Some are subtly different while others are completely new songs – or an actual new song! Using Rob’s voice on the harmonies, on tracks like ‘Mrs.Vance’ for example, is fantastic. ‘Trigger Finger’ with a country flair is perfection…add another fiddle and a banjo and this could be a bluegrass track. The use of strings throughout the album is beautiful and I always appreciate a funky bass!”
Riley (@RTStark53): “My overall thought of the album is that it’s amazing. It keeps the Louden Swain vibe while still being so different from the other albums they have made. All of the songs are very good and well done.”
Muriel (@housecatsswain): “Only one word is fitting: amazing. I was expecting it to be great of course but I was blown away by the new versions of the songs. Some of them were favourites and I love them even more. Others I liked like ‘CA Nation’ and ‘Rock Song’ and now I just love them so much. I only listened to it once on my way to work but I know I am going to listen to it on repeat for a while. I wish I was more eloquent to fully express how much I love that album so I will end by saying this: the guys put so much of themselves in it and it shows.”
Roshni (@RoshShippy): “I love how the guys have managed to make songs I thought I knew so well into some completely different. The acoustic versions sound so melodic and beautiful, and almost haunting at times too.”
Christy (@trippingchristy): “I love the album! Their reimagining of the songs gave me new perspective into old favorites, and the addition of strings was absolutely gorgeous. They added so much dimension to the feel of the songs. Rob’s voice is in excellent form, and the whole band is on point.”
Isabelle (@lilithivyangel): “I listened to the album three times in a row when I received it. Pure happiness from the first to the last song. I really liked the arrangements on the last song of the cd – ‘Rock Song’. It is slower than the original version without losing its bite and the lyrics are simply beautiful. In the song ‘Amazing’ I like the classical guitar that softened the song. I feel this album is like a new one even if most of the songs are remixes of existing songs. I also like the backing vocals in songs like ‘CA Nation’. They make the song so powerful. Finally, with this album we feel all the work done by the band so far. The remixes of the songs gave a new color to the album. Like a good wine, Louden Swain ages as well as their songs.”
Kelli (@klairermusic1): “I freaking LOVE this album! I don’t even know where to begin, and this reaction is going to be all over the place. I didn’t know how much I needed a Swain acoustic album in my life until this album and now all I can think is, I love this and I need more of it in my life! I’m pretty sure I said ‘woah!’ a good twenty times when I first listened to the entire album. My coworkers have walked into my room on several occasions already and asked, ‘that band again?’ because I am always listening to it now. The added strings/brass are wonderful. I love when bands can incorporate string and/or horn ensembles into their music and Swain did it perfectly. Hearing some of my favorite Swain songs redone so well is also a plus. I am a teacher and will often play some acoustic music softly while students work. I have played quite a bit of of Jason Mann’s music over the years, and now I can add Swain to that playlist. Nothing like slowly forcing your favorite musicians on the youth of the world, right?!”

Courtesy of Lindsey, Staff Writer

Which song is your favorite?

Jennifer (@macd1982): “I’m torn between ‘All I Need’ and ‘Rock Song’. The addition of strings on ‘All I Need’ is so beautiful. If I had to pick just one song it would have to be ‘Rock Song’. The way that they transformed this song is nothing short of brilliant. If you listen to the original version back to back with the acoustic version it’s almost like listening to two completely different songs. The way that it builds in intensity is genius. It gives me chills/goosebumps every single time I hear it. They played the acoustic version live at the Cleveland con and I will never forget the experience. Singing the line, ‘Where are all my friends?’ while surrounded by so many friends was something else. I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.”

Dean (@ChucksVessel): “My favorite song has to be ‘Silverspoon’. I love the way they changed it and I love the vibe of it. The trumpet in the chorus just always gets me. It just has such strong energy to it.”

Anje (@rathofkain): “I was fortunate to be at the Tree People show over the summer.  Right away I knew ‘Rock Song’ would forever be changed for me. What was once a song I could relate to on a ‘living for the weekend’ (or next Swain show) feeling to one of loneliness really resonated. I cried the first time and I still do nearly every time I hear it. So many feelings wrapped up in one song. It is definitely my favorite on the new album.”

Angélique (@Angie_Voyage): “It’s a tie between ‘All I Need’ because it’s my all-time favorite and ‘Too Far Away’. This one is relatable for me because I lost a dear friend last year from cancer and I can’t stop thinking about him while listening to it. It’s really hard on me but also really cathartic because of the light melody of the song and the lyrics. I don’t think I can listen to this without crying just yet. I just love everything about this song.”

Shannon (@reelnerdy): “I love them all for many different reasons. Right now I think I’d say my top favorite would be ‘Too Far Away’. The song is simply beautiful. And the lyrics are so emotional.”

Sebastian (@firebucklemming): “My favorite song on the album is ‘Real Life’. It is my favourite Swain song over all. I feel that this version of the song is a lot more raw than the original. I have loved each song in their own right but ‘Real Life’ has to be my favourite.”

Kathie (@NurseKathie): “‘Rock Song’. Wow! The original played like a party anthem, throw off your work shoes and get out there and live life, even if its Tuesday and you’ve been working all day! The new version has so much feeling that your voice will quiver along with Rob’s as you hold back tears. My heart ached. For me this version was about growing old and losing time, missing out, too much work and not enough play. Same lyrics, changed pace. I can relate to that. Maybe I relate because I am 40 now. I still want to have fun but the older I get the harder it is to find friends that have time or motivation to get out there and scream at the top of their lungs to a great rock song on a Tuesday night. I am lucky to have found that group of friends and I thank this band for it every day. Because of Louden Swain, we drive 5-6 hours, some of us flying in,  just to experience that magic. It never gets tired, old, or repetitive. These guys always, ALWAYS, give their 100%, no matter how big their audience. So, for me, ‘Rock Song’ is my favorite. It’s still the reminder to live life, have fun, and call in sick if needed, but the message hits home a bit harder now.”

Mary (@pare6386): “‘Amazing’ will always be one of my favorites,  purely because I love the lyrics, my favorite being, ‘…I wouldn’t take back a single frame.’ This softer acoustic version makes me want to be close to someone, it is an excellent interpretation of the song that I didn’t know I wanted to have in my life and I love it.”

Courtesy of Lindsey, Staff Writer

Kim (@KimSaysSmile): “‘Rock Song’! I heard it for the first time at the NJ acoustic jam and was blown away!  Add in the strings on the album version and all I can say is WOW!  I am amazed at how they took such a bop and turned it into this incredible intense emotional masterpiece! It is  absolutely stunning and I can’t help but listen to it over and over again.”

Brianna (@gabrielskazoo): “Picking a favorite song feels like cheating because they’re ALL so good! The strings in ‘All I Need’, the talking part in ‘CA Nation’, the backing vocals on ‘Mrs Vance’. The emotional poetry that is ‘Too Far Away’ and the complete breakdown of ‘Rock Song’. They can’t go without mentioning but my absolute favorite is ‘Big One’. It’s my go-to on this album. I can’t really describe it but when I listen to it, I feel so safe and content. Like whatever happens in life is just going to happen and that’s alright. I hear Rob’s story of how he was inspired to write this song. Walking through Laurel Canyon and just being like what if we just died right now? The song reminds me that I’m alive! Reminds me to breathe and that we’re all human beings just living our lives. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit that area and way Rob sings in that song, it’s so different. I’m not completely sure but I know it’s my favorite!”

Arlene (@acmabry3): “Well, like a lot of folks, I love ‘Amazing’. It’s a great tribute to the SPN fans and for what he went through with his stroke. I love the line, ‘I’m the Captain of my Story’ – we are all in charge of our story…our lives…we just have to believe and have the strength to carry on. Also, I like ‘Too Far Away’.  A lot of people are like this – the ones they care for are so close…yet so far away and it’s hard to reach them.  Time is short – ‘…running out of time, there’s a lot I want to say’ – don’t wait and share your love, your feelings…else the person you care for will be ‘Too Far Away’. These two just stuck with me.”

Dawn (@dawndawn77): “I can’t choose just one favorite, but two songs really stand out to me the most. ‘Another Fool’ speaks to me of searching for belonging. ‘Too Far Away’ expresses such loss, through either a break up or death of a loved one.  ‘All I Need’ and ‘Ready Steady’ are also favorites of mine. The entire album is now my favorite and I can’t stop playing it.”

Marlena: “I know this is going to be a popular choice, but I have to go with ‘Rock Song’ as one. WOW, what a change! In its original form this is an upbeat track, and now it’s rip-your-heart-out gorgeous! It made me listen to the lyrics and realize how just a change in instrument arrangement or how you speak those words like a poem can change the entire feeling of a piece. The other is ‘Overachiever’. The moment I heard this on the Louden Swain website pre-release I was in love. This arrangement makes me so happy when I hear it…I smile every time. The tempo and intensity changes drew me in instantly. My husband would say, ‘of course you love it, it’s like ALL the songs you love!’ Starts off one way (soft) and intensifies and morphs into something new and different.”

Riley (@RTStark53): “My favorite song from the album is either ‘Too Far Away’ or ‘Another Fool’. I like ‘Too Far Away’ because it is nice and calm, and it sort of reminds me of a camp that I went to when I was younger. I like ‘Another Fool’ because it was in The Sidekick and I love that movie so it’s nice to finally have the full song.”

Muriel (@housecatsswain): “‘Rock Song’. I was fully prepared for my favourite to be ‘Too Far Away’ and I love it of course. But ‘Rock Song’ hits me right in the heart. I liked the song before but it was not one of my favourites. Now it is. I can’t stop listening to it and I can’t wait to hear it live.”

Roshni (@RoshShippy): “I think out of the covers I’d have to say ‘Rock Song’. That song is so upbeat as an original, but the new acoustic version is so stripped back, it completely changes the meaning of the song, and I love that. Out of the original songs, ‘Too Far Away’ is absolutely breathtaking and I think it’s my new favourite!”

Christy (@trippingchristy): “‘Rock Song has’ always been one of my top five songs, but this version may have moved it into my top two. It’s a powerful ballad, and hearing Rob’s use of more of his vocal range is always a treat. It’s melancholy, yet hopeful at the same time.”

Isabelle (@lilithivyangel): “‘Too Far Away’ because we can feel the sadness of Rob. We feel his loss of someone and his passion. The guitar at the beginning of the song is like a dear friend, accompanying him through his journey. Close to the middle of the song we hear other instruments playing like the drum. It represents his will to get out of it, to go ahead even if he is tempted to give up. The piano at the end shows he remains strong despite everything.”

Kelli (@klairermusic1): “I can’t pick just one, sorry. I heard ‘Too Far Away’ after the Tree People show and fell in love with the song. Rob is really good at putting into words emotions I have on a regular basis. This is one of those songs, it was one I really needed to hear at the time they first performed it, and it has stuck with me since that time. When I first heard ‘Silverspoon’ I melted with excitement about the song.  I have listened to it on repeat several times. This rendition just makes me really happy. ‘Ready Steady’ is one of my favorite songs as well. I have always loved ‘Ready Steady’, but there is something about the acoustic version that I just can’t quite put my finger on. I love it even more than the original, and I find myself smiling any time the song pops up on my playlist. There are two other songs I could go on and on about as well, however you asked for one song and I have already given you three. Oops!”

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Splitting the Seams is now available on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, and Louden Swain’s website.


Briar

Briar created Nerds and Beyond in 2015, with the dream of providing fun and unique fandom news to readers. Briar continues to oversee all daily operations of the site, administrative duties, and articles.

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