CD Review: Swami Lushbeard “Who You Were?”

The band Swami Lushbeard is a four-piece pop/rock band that calls Los Angeles home. The musicians who make up the group consists of: Don Sprouls on guitar/lead vocals, Danny Kopel on keyboards and vocals, Andre Howie on bass and vocals, and Ian Michaels on drums. This quartet released a fourteen-track album entitled Who You Were? Between the fourteen tracks on the release, the songs are split between keyboard-driven and guitar-driven compositions. This helps keep the new release from Swami Lushbeard from getting stale.

Who You Were? by Swami Lushbeard begins with the song “Silver Bodycase”. This first track of the album features Kopel’s piano as the diving force behind the song, while Sprouls’ guitar work helps to fill out the sound on the song about a person who finds their finals resting place inside a “Silver Bodycase”.

With the next song, Swami Lushbeard picks up the pace. While “Silver Bodycase” has a “pop” feel to it, “Another Reason” is quite a bit heavier, with the guitar work of Sprouls leading the way through a song about accepting what happens to us as we go through life.

On the song “Broken Record,” the first forty seconds of the song finds Don Sprouls playing his guitar and singing. After the first verse of the song, the rest of the musicians in the band join him. “Broken Record” also features one of the best examples of harmonizing, as the other vocalists in the band join in to add depth to the lyrics of the song.

“Woman: Disassembled” is one of the most interesting tracks on Who You Were? During the verses of the song, the band plays in one tempo. But during the pre-chorus and chorus of the song, the band changes gears and tempos to create a completely different feeling to the music.

The title to the song “Obligatory Pop Song” is the most apropos title of any of the songs on the album: While all of the songs on Who You Were? by Swami Lushbeard are very “listener-friendly,” it is “Obligatory Pop Song” that sounds the most like something you could hear on the radio airwaves. The commercial feel of the song all but says, “Hit single”.

To add a bit of humor to the album, the band included the song “Jesus Christ Handle”. To my knowledge, this is the only song written about that handle found on the top of the passenger-side door, which is there to help prevent that person from going through the front windshield in the case of a crash. Great song. And the humor in it just makes it that much better.

“Turn Signal” is another track that might be considered “radio-friendly”. From the opening riffs from Sprouls to the structure of the song, this track feels like the band wrote it to be released as a single. “Turn Signal” might just turn into a favorite among the fans of Swami Lushbeard.

Swami Lushbeard has done a great job of creating an album in which the piano and the guitar both get a chance to shine with their new release of Who You Were? Whether it’s on songs like “Silver Bodycase” where the piano is featured, or on songs like “Another Reason” where the guitar takes the lead, the ability to create a style of rock that allows for both instruments to influence the direction the music takes is Swami Lushbeard a very interesting and creative musical outfit.

With this album containing fourteen tracks of rock music that hit the hour mark, there are plenty of musical moments on the release that will make any pop/rock music lover happy. Whether you like guitar-driven songs, or you are more of a fan of keyboard-driven tunes, Who You Were? from Swami Lushbeard is well worth a listen.

You can find the band online at www.swamilushbeard.com. You can also find them on Facebook.