Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

So, Swim Deep had a sense of humour all along

21 October 2015, 10:05 | Written by Harley Cassidy

Always cast as second in line to Peace’s Brummie reign, Swim Deep entered 2015 by describing their second album as “psychedelic sex music”.

The band returned having swapped the 90s-drenched, Kurt Cobain get up for a look akin to that of Oliver Twist trapped in Studio 54 and have proved that a successful two years as indie heartthrobs singing hazy, sugary hooks just wasn’t enough. Bearing this in mind, fair play to them for bypassing their reputation and instead elevating expectations.

As soon as Mothers hit store shelves a few weeks ago, it became clear Swim Deep had upped the ante. They haven’t completely dropped the dreamy indie sensibility, but have rather developed it. Alongside the classic acid house music they’ve said they’ve been listening to, it seems the band have also been indulging in a lot of Tame Impala and Jagwar Ma. There’s a shitload of influences and genres going on, a literal melting pot of everything entitled “trippy” under the sun. From chugging motorik grooves, gospel-drenched melodies, funky basslines and baggy percussion; the band’s debut is progressive and at times, fairly euphoric.

Transcending this live could be difficult, and occasionally tonight (Kingston Hippodrome, 8th October) they do struggle with patchy sound quality, but at other times the songs are truly mesmerising; especially “Namaste” and “To My Brother”, the latter proving to be a juggernaut of vintage synths and sassy vocals leaving you unable to stop dancing, rendered to the groove. They’re helped massively by an extra-hand in James Balmont, making Swim Deep an eclectic five-piece.

Austin Williams is a likeable frontman; he’s relaxed yet enigmatic and while he doesn’t have a riveting voice on him, the lazy, speak-instead-of-sing approach works in his favour. The blissed out musings he recounts go hand in hand with Swim Deep’s aura, and add to the ‘too cool for school’ demeanour. His shining moment comes during the eight-minute wig out of “Fueiho Boogie” where, with maracas in hand, he and the music become one.

Their early stuff doesn’t get lost in the mix either; they play the real cream of the crop from their debut including the sublime “She Changes The Weather” and B-Town classics “King City” and “Honey”, which seem a tad drab compared to the newer stuff. The crowd at Hippodrome is sparse in places but they make up for it with palpable energy and appreciation for the band.

The greatest thing about Swim Deep’s evolution is that they seem a lot less serious, like they had a sense of humour all along and have now decided to bring it into their music. They still look fey at times but it’s hard to think of them as posers when the music literally sounds like they’re making it up as they go along (in the nicest way possible). They’ve crafted a mass sonic revolution right under our noses, and for that, they must be commended.

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