If Tom Waits had gone punk, it may have sounded something like this creation from Virginians Scott Loving and Ben Shanaberger. Moody, throaty vocals with lyrics that are often darkly humorous are highlighted by edgy, growling guitar riffs and driving rhythms. Some tunes have a slightly alt country twang, while others throb like they came out of Minneapolis in the mid 80's. Fresh, inventive, and entertaining music. -Mark Waterbury Music Morsels Indie-Music.com Review Swift Ships' greatness hits you immediately. I've never done drugs, but this must be what it feels like when heroin first mixes with an addict's blood. The key: gut honest songs, performed as if their lives depended upon them. It's a simple formula, but I imagine many other lesser acts count that high cost first, and then simply decide not to pay it. Swift Ships won't settle for less. The first name that came to my mind with the opener, "Wedding Day," was Steve Earle. Granted, these boys don't sound like outcasts from guitar town. But there's a similar Earle-ish snarl in their voices and poison in their pens. This first track paraphrases an old Irish song (I think), and you get the impression the character in it will never see his blissful wedding day. "Christ, temptations on the Currituck Sound, you're the king of ***** up." While "Wedding Day" moves with a rocking stomp, something like "Nice Guy" stretches out with moody, nearly ambient guitar. It's lyric (not surprisingly) is also a little depressing and self-deprecating. "My friends say they think I drink too much, but I ain't got nothing better to do." It's also hard not to be moved by the resentment driving "Hopeless Kid." "I've been a rebel since I was young, I remember tearing down the back bedroom, I didn't want to be no one's stepson." This is one of those CDs where you can close your eyes, flip through the CD booklet, and randomly point at a song lyric. And each time, you'll land upon a lyrical gem. Just try it. Put my theory to the test. It's almost science. If the currents are with them, Swift Ships are headed straight for wider acclaim. -Dan MacIntosh Indie-Music.com Revolt Media Review Swift Ships, the native Virginians who have now sought port in New York (how cliché can one reviewer be?) takes us back to a decade when guitars mattered with their debut full-length album, Rebel Renaissance. Not the guitars you hear today - the repetitive, "I'm-just-here-because-bands-need-guitars-right?" guitars - but guitars that could tell a song's story all by themselves if they had to. Leisurely played guitars that seemingly have no real destination until they take you back in time to a musical era when the destination didn't matter. Only the trip was of any importance. It's doubtful many of Rebel Renaissance's 11 tracks cause the guys to break sweats. Actually, Swift Ships describes their style best with a short lyric in the sixth track, "Pursuit Race": "Chaos puts me to sleep." Swift Ships describes Rebel Renaissance as being "a swaggering rock and roll western documenting the life and travels of a modern American loser," and the theme is immediately confirmed in the first track. "Wedding Day" marks the beginning of the loser's journey as he ponders a woman's questionable characteristics and wonders when, if ever, he'll marry. All pondering and wondering has stopped by the album's last track, "Tell It To The Preacher," when the loser confronts a possibly different woman with her infidelities. His own, too. Rebel Renaissance isn't all about relationships gone awry, though. "Nice Guy" is easily the most notable. The loser spends the first half of the over seven minute-long song explaining why his habitual, apathetic ways constitute his being a "nice guy." Once he's finished with his futile attempts at convincing the world he has his act together, the bass kicks in. The drums get more deliberate, the rhythm gets mysteriously melodic, and an instrumental showcase worthy of '70s vinyl fame and some serious LSD-tripping rolls through the remainder of the song. Rebel Renaissance will surely be a hit among old heads searching for classic rock fixes, and young ones wishing they were alive during the time when guitar solos with personalities of their own were all it took to make a song. OK, maybe not a "hit," but definitely a top pick on days when listening to a good slow jam or two is all you need out of life. -Alicia Sparks revolt-media.com Online Rock Review You have to admit, on first listen Ben Shanaberger's voice is kind of alarming. I'm talking, of course, about Rebel Renaissance, the debut album from Swift Ships, and if you've heard it you'll remember that on the first track lead singer Shanaberger's voice comes creaking unwillingly through the speaker like it has somewhere better to be. I kept listening though, and by the second track I was on board with the peculiar Swift Ships style: instrumentals that are pure country-rock and groaning, emotive vocals that suck you into each song in spite of yourself. As the album's title indicates, these boys are not interested in fluffy-bunny love songs. Almost every track references guns, drinking, or the road, and sometimes all three together (a rather chilling combination for anyone else driving out there). These songs, aided by Scott Loving's wailing guitar sounds, are rough-and-ready, silly/serious cowboy tunes that should be played over a pickup truck's speakers to the hound riding in the bed. Play this album when you're yearning for a smart but simple life, for the days when men were men, dogs were dogs, and women were Miss Susan. -Kris Larson onlinerock.com Rocknworld.com Review 'Wedding Day' is deliciously warped and all the more unconventional thanks to Ken's voice: a combination of comfy plush slippers and no. 4 (okay, maybe no.6) sandpaper, cozy and gritty all at the same time. There's some especially tasty fret work here too. 'Gunslinger', the second track, also showcases some excellent musicianship, with more than a taste-test sampling of the bygone psychedelic era's warblings. Vocals here too are equally appealing: think the Fray's Isaac Slade (post elocution lessons) and Supernova frontman Lucas Rossi and his trademark personal and guttural bravado. Swift Ships enters calmer seas with the hypnotic staccato lyrics and gear and mood-changing melody of 'Miss Susan'. It's short and sweet and a welcome change of pace from the previous in-your-face, hey-look-at-me-NOW tracks. For an instrumental showcase, 'Nice Guy' is your man. It does open with lyrics but it's likely the instrumentals you'll remember from this subtle yet undeniably invigorating track. Same could be said of the picking on 'Tell it to the preacher.' Swift Ships charts a darker, quietly sadder, more vulnerable course with 'Hopeless Kid'. Lyrically, this one reflects the challenging but all- too-common realities of abuse: 'I didn't want to be no one's stepson...All the vengeance in the world is a drop in the cup. When you thirst for your own life to be through'. Yet musically, with it's emotional swells and dramatic chord changes 'Hopeless Kid' is tinged with optimism, determination and yes, maybe even hope. No small feat to tackle let alone accomplish in just one track. Swift or slow, this is one ship worth a visit if it docks in a port near you. -Gisele Grignon Rocknworld.com.