On the first listen of The Light Under Closed Doors, I thought that it was okay. Totally awesome record, but man, the Running Out Of Places To Go EP was so fucking good. Then I listened to it again, and again, and again. And somewhere around the fourth listen, I realized that I was super into this record. It creeps up on you and seeps into your being. There are totally catchy hooks and sing along sections, but this record subtly infects you. The Light Under Closed Doors is an album that works best when listened to as an album. The songs build on one another to create an atmosphere that totally draws the listener in.
All that said, The Light Under Closed Doors is full of passion filtered through a pop punk sensibility, with dashes of indie rock and metal-y guitar riffs. Every single one of the tracks are full and robust and Nick Diener’s voice is full of urgency and passion. The songs are about the typical pop punk subjects break ups, evaluating your place in life, depression, and distance, all with some great lyrics.
The album kicks off with Should, a song about pining over a break up, with a hook that you will be singing for days and some killer lines, “I can hear my heart under the floor / beating uncontrollably for more / now I see the light under closed doors”. The second track, Big Hearts offers more of the same, the chorus is super catchy but the opening lines, “Give me a melody / give me a feeling / give me something I can finally believe in / I need the memories / I need the meaning /give me something I can finally sink my teeth in” are what really sucks us in. High/Low is a bit dark, for The Swellers at least, it is moody and heavy, yet you will be singing along to this one too. Friends Again (We Can’t Be) is a self assured sort of sadness, “The needles’ on the track / you finally came clean / that you got nothing that I need / to be honest / we can’t be friends again”. The last track, Call It A Night is the perfect ending to this album, it is a bit moody, a bit indie, and full of contemplative lyrics. “Handed me a brick / special delivery / told me to live my dreams / and the older I get / I grow tired of throwing it / I just want to build something” the progresses to, “I’ll find my way back home / when I’m out of places to go” and “regrets and rewind / to find a peace of mind / when it all comes to light / we can call it a night / but some of this will stay / when the feeling fade away / when it all comes to light / we can call it a night “. The Light Under Closed Doors has lyrics that are immediately identifiable and poignant at the same time.
The Light Under Closed Doors might not immediately grab you as previous Swellers albums, but these songs will slowly take a hold of you until you feel like you have been singing along to them all your life.