The Sw!ms of Scranton, PA play an infectious brand of psychedelic music loaded with pop hooks and fuzzed-out guitars. ?Welcome to the Back of Beyond? is a CDR collection of demos, outtakes, and alternate versions of songs from some of their previous releases, all wrapped up in some insane cover art. Fans of the Apples in Stereo and the Flaming Lips will certainly enjoy all of the sugary-sweet melodies and offbeat instrumentals packed into this disc.
Over the twenty-one songs of ?Welcome to the Back of Beyond,? the band incorporates a wide variety of sounds and styles. The song ?Mind the Slidekick? is an all-out Stooges type rocker, while ?Everything You Say (Pt. 1)? is a delicate keyboard-based pop tune. However, the strongest tracks on the album are the swimming psychedelic songs like ?Eevee 9D9? and ?The Noid.? Their combination of great vocal melodies, sharp guitar lines, and layered instrumentals make for some great listening. Another solid track that deserves mention is ?Busload of Art Students Forced to Watch Hollow Man,? first because it?s a great melancholy pop tune, and second for the excellent title. Really, the only misstep on the album comes at the very end, where two goofy rap tracks are tacked on. They kind of kill the vibe created on the previous tracks and are probably best skipped over.
For an odds-and-ends collection, this disc is surprisingly strong. There is really a lot to enjoy about the Sw!ms take on psychedelic music. The group clearly has a knack for creating bizarre, catchy pop music, which makes ?Welcome to the Back of Beyond? a great disc to be enjoyed again and again. 8/10 -- Matt Blackall (3 October, 2007)