The guitars were as much inspired by modern rock and metal tones as they were pop-rock, and that fine balance of heavy and pop intrigued me.
Unwritten Law was in that mix as well; where other bands have hung up their laces (or, in the case of Blink, tossed their shoes around in the air to taunt all its listeners), Unwritten Law has just kept unwriting.
Their latest effort, “Swan,” appeals to “now” me because it would have massively appealed to “then” me. Unwritten Law has changed exactly zero elements of their sound in crafting “Swan,” and that means that you’re gonna love this or hate this. The only update of the sound whatsoever is Killers-esque synth on “Nevermind,” but the snotty vocal tone and the chanting delivery call up “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” so much that the modern element is almost negated.
“Starships and Apocalypse” is the radio single, and it’s really a radio single; “Dark Days” may have actually been written as the second single (it’s that obvious). Obligatory acoustic track “Sing” is actually incredibly pretty. “Chicken (Ready to Go)” features Del the Funky Homosapien, hearkening back to times where people actually made true rap-rock (whoa). The power ballad sucks in a completely overblown way, as fans of this genre expect (and, honestly, look forward to a little bit). Closer “Swan Song” has charging guitars, metallic bass tone, tidy mixing and an overall feel of 2002.
Unwritten Law has stuck to its guns and crafted a collection of songs they like, critics be damned. It’s easy for veteran acts to write good songs when no one’s looking over the members’ shoulders, and that’s what has happened here.
I spent one of my favorite high school summers driving around my hometown with my friends listening to Blink-182’s self-titled on repeat. “Swan” could have easily been the soundtrack to that summer. That’s high praise.