|Swim Deep — Mothers [Deluxe Edition]|
Swim Deep — Mothers [Deluxe Edition] (October 2, 2015)
• Band je posílen multi–instrumentalistou (James Balmont). To je zásadní vývoj, pomohl totiž kapele v jejich snaze změnit zvuk pro druhé album. Nahrávalo se koncem roku 2014 v Bruselu a Londýně pod bedlivým dohledem producenta (Dreamtrak). Oproti kritikům si nemyslím, že band zabředl příliš do synetizátorů, snad i doplatil na přílišné experimentování se zvukem a celkově drastickou vzdálenost od debutu “Heaven”. Možná se trochu zhlédli v kosmickém zvuku Hawkwind, nemusí to však být vědomé. “I feel like we’re all shaving our heads and going to war with this record,” said frontman Austin Williams, making a bold statement of intent ahead of the record’s release.
• Nakažlivý pocit štěstí, imaginace a něžnost v “Green Conduit” se míchá s psychedelickým popem, který je klíčovým prvkem celého záznamu. Je pravdou, že někdy mi ten trochu bubble–gumový sound trhá uši, ale přežil jsem i horší věci. “Is There Anybody Out There” je dalším dobrým příkladem určitého podtónu s kapelou Tame Impala.
• The British band almost gets lost in its own referential sound cosmos. The Birmingham five–piece steps it up with synths on an impressive sophomore record.Location: Birmingham, UK
Album release: October 2, 2015
Record Label: Chess Club/ RCA
01. One Great Song and I Could Change the World 3:57
02. To My Brother 4:00
03. Green Conduit 4:35
04. Heavenly Moment 4:28
05. Namaste 3:33
06. Is there Anybody Out There 4:31
07. Forever Spacemen 3:49
08. Grand Affection 4:16
09. Imagination 5:54
10. Laniakea 4:27
11. Fueiho Boogie 8:13
12. Caramelise 4:44
13. Si Si Me Voy 3:45
14. Everything Is Possible 4:02
15. Hotel California 5:28
• Austin Williams (vocals),
• Tom Higgins (guitar),
• Zachary Robinson (drums),
• Cavan McCarthy (bass)
• James Balmont (keys and percussion)
• Austin Williams can make you walk on air. This is one thing that comes out of Birmingham five–piece Swim Deep‘s second album, as within the first moment of Mothers they’ve lifted you to a psychedelic plane thanks to that airy falsetto.
• Before now, it’d have been easy to dismiss this lot in the same receptacle as Peace or The 1975 (God forbid), but with the help of producer Dreamtrak, Swim Deep have actually taken the pains to develop a new and more engaging sound than the standard UK indie. Of course, nudge–wink grandeur isn’t lost on them — opening with the fantastic One Great Song And I Could Change The World, their ambitions aren’t exactly slight. Their grasp of pop melody complements their new style, with To My Brother and Grand Affection being masterful strokes of hummable radio fodder. But that balance of the commercial with experimentation is what works about Mothers, even if sometimes the individual moments don’t. While they start to climb the lower rungs of a Tame Impala vibe on Is There Anybody Out There and Forever Spaceman, it becomes clear that they’re not afraid to take risks with their soundscape. As a result, more traditional moments like Namaste and Heavenly Moment seem a bit beneath them, but there’s more goodness here than most young bands can muster by this stage. Give them a chance — Swim Deep will take you so far under that you’ll begin to see stars.
By Andy Baber | posted on 28 Sep 2015 | Score: ***
• The general consensus following the release of Birmingham quartet Swim Deep’s debut LP, Where The Heaven Are We, was that it was a perfectly serviceable and solid first effort. It was a record filled to the brim with dreamy, summer anthems and straightforward indie pop that pretty much anyone could get behind; carrying on from where fellow B–Town act Peace left off earlier in 2013.
• In almost an exact repeat of that situation, Swim Deep are back two years later with their second album, Mothers, which comes just months after Peace released their own second effort. However, while much has remained the same during the band’s brief hiatus, there has been some crucial changes in between albums. Most notably, Swim Deep are now bolstered by the addition of multi–instrumentalist James Balmont.
• This additional body is a crucial development as it has assisted the band in their bid to change up their sound for their second album. “I feel like we’re all shaving our heads and going to war with this record,” said frontman Austin Williams, making a bold statement of intent ahead of the record’s release. Recorded at the end of 2014 in Brussels and London with producer Dreamtrak, Mothers is undoubtedly a different proposition to their debut.
• The first single, To My Brother, signposts Swim Deep’s new direction. It’s a blissful slice of psychedelic pop that nods to heavily towards the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and, in particular, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica. Williams channels his inner Bobby Gillespie over the song’s shuffling beat and expansive synths, as he sings on the joyous chorus: “I start to get the feeling all I do is preach/ I start to get the feeling all I do is preach to my brother.”
• It follows album opener — and second single — One Great Song And I Could Change The World, which is another example of Swim Deep experimenting with the acid house genre. The song is drenched in immersive synths as Williams tweaks his hushed vocal so it becomes just another instrument, as the lyrics continue the positive vibes: “Have I said why I love the sunrise?/ It’s cause it’s only gonna get lighter.”
• While Mothers doesn’t exactly break any new ground, it is hard not to be impressed by Swim Deep’s conviction. Namaste is as bold and in–your–face as anything on the record, ditching the guitars once again in favour of splashes of cheesy synth, while Forever Spaceman sees the band mess around with a number of different sounds over the course of its four–minute runtime, moving from plodding synths to a cacophony of static haze.
• There is a fleeting return of the guitars for space anthem Is There Anybody Out There, where huge hooks rove playfully over sprawling, atmospheric synths, but Mothers is largely about the band’s use of retro synths. This does gradually become tiring, though, especially as the record moves towards its climax. Take Grand Affection, which sounds like a theme tune for a terrible ‘80s video game, while Laniakea is just plain irritating.
• Another issue is the lack of standout moments. The band may have had plans on emulating Screamadelica, but To My Brother is really the only truly memorable track on the album. That is, until eight–minute closer Fueiho Boogie demonstrates Swim Deep’s obvious potential. It is a madcap finale, with pulsating synths bringing some long overdue urgency to the record.
• Ultimately, Mothers feels like a stepping stone to bigger and better things for Swim Deep. It is clear the new five–piece had a lot of fun experimenting with their sound and it is a drastic departure from Where The Heaven Are We. Yet, it is not an album that is likely to live long in the memory; almost getting too bogged down in synths to make a significant impact. Once again, it is a case of close, but not close enough. • http://www.musicomh.com/
BY KARLY NISSON | POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 | Rating: 4.0/5.0
• Mellow indie rockers Swim Deep were once the poster boys for the carefree: easygoing, bubblegum–haired twenty–somethings draped in thrift shop sweaters, deftly navigating the B–town scene on beat–up skateboards. If their debut, “Where In The Heaven Are We,” was a distillment of the feel–good themes of B–town — an indie pop scene bred by the likes of Peace and JAWS in Birmingham, England — then their sophomore record “Mothers” is perhaps a more–articulated version of the same setting. Swim Deep has revived the airy, guitar–based sound that wooed early fans, but their metamorphosis hasn’t been one of complete renewal; Swim Deep has simply become more meticulous.
• The hazy vocals and melodic guitars of early Swim Deep tracks have not been removed and replaced, just buried. “Mothers” layers the airy 80’s dream pop of “Where In The Heaven Are We” with jangly guitars and heavy synths, producing a complex psychedelic pop–grunge that selectively emphasizes and mufflesvarying layers to create an array of distinctive songs.The album opens with “One Great Song And I Could Change the World,” a grand proposal lathered in soft vocals and synths that demands high expectations, just to fall short of them. Sure, “Mothers” is a delicious listen, but it suits a peaceful summer kickback far more than it does global revolution.
• But Swim Deep’s introductory proposition lays the foundation for what they’ve set out to accomplish with their sophomore record: change. Surely anthems “To My Brother” and “Is There Anybody Out There” won’t be mistaken for the guitar–driven, indie jingles of their past; synths mingle with keyboards to stifle delicate vocals, lifting only to pronounce catchy, single–phrase choruses.
• Yet, such a persistent reliance on synths poses the danger of occasional monotony and Swim Deep doesn’t completely escape it. “Heavenly Moment” and “Imagination” fail to offer anything exclusive; they depend on the same heavy synth and obscured vocal combination of the other tracks but lack any of their redeeming embellishments. Fortunately, “Fueiho Boogie” revives a late–album slump. The eight–minute closer recovers the clear, clever lyrics and striking guitar riffs of their earlier work and fuses them with carefully layered instrumentation and amplified vocals. The result is a lengthy showcase of Swim Deep’s ability to fine–tune.
• “Mothers” is just that — a careful modification of an original sound, a rare achievement of simultaneous experimentation and perfection. Swim Deep may remain a beacon for the blissful and carefree, but “Mothers” has demonstrated the existence of an underlying ambitiousness. • http://ucsdguardian.org/
Fernando Rennis, October 2, 2015
Press: Print — Paddy Davis
Online — Chris Fraser
Agent: Matt Bates
|Swim Deep — Mothers [Deluxe Edition]|