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Swallow the Rat - Album Review: South Locust

20 Oct 2023 // A review by Brad Miller

One of the things I love about this gig is that I regularly get introduced to new (to me) artists, and every now and then, there’s a standout. That’s what happened with Swallow The Rat. As I write this I’m on my third play through of their latest album South Locust. About thirty seconds into opener Terra Nullius I realised that I made a terrible mistake. I raced to switch from my mediocre headphones to the house sound system and cranked it up.

Some music is just better at full volume, South Locust is a perfect example of that. The post-punk trio from Tamaki Makaurau consisting of Brian Purington (guitar), Hayden Fritchley (drums, vocals), and Stephen Horsley (bass, keyboards, vocals) deliver a ten-track powerhouse. Delving in to themes of colonialism, broken friendships, and even the internet South Locust proves to also be a thought provoking endeavour.

With certain tracks diving into delightfully grimy nineties punk/grunge territory (Idea of South and Redactor’s Dilemma being excellent examples, reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails), and others exploring the vibes of eighties British legends like The Cure even The Clash (Gravois Park and Straight Roads). There’s something on this album for punk fans from all walks of life and sub-genres.

Swallow The Rat are here, they’ve got something to say, and they’re angry about it. Lead single Terra Nullius and ZZK are standout tracks for me, but the whole album is a window shaker and definitely worth your time.

South Locust is available for streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp now, with a limited vinyl release also.


About Swallow the Rat

Swallow the Rat formed in late 2017 when guitarists Brian Purington and Sam Vercoe began jamming with drummer Hayden Fritchley. Will Waters (Kerretta) was recruited on bass and in early 2018 the band recorded 3 songs with acclaimed engineer Nick Abbott, all of which charted on New Zealand's Alt Charts and Student Radio, along with receiving air play on KOOP (Austin, TX) and DKFM (CAN). Mid 2018 saw Stephen Horsley take over bass duties and a NZ tour commenced.

In 2019 a self-titled 7" was released which coincided with several showcase performances at SXSW in Austin, TX. A string of shows across New Zealand followed, including opening for No Age, Gang Of Four and Sebadoh. Subsequently, they signed to US label Shifting Sounds.

March 2020 they performed at New Colossus Festival in NYC as part of a US tour. Meanwhile back in NZ the singles Bird of Ill and Cold Moon both went to #1 on the 95bFM Top Ten. 24 April 2020 saw the global release of the LP Leaving Room.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Swallow the Rat


South Locust
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Year: 2021
Type: EP
Leaving Room
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Swallow the Rat
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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