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

Swim Deep – XOYO, London 26/02/13

28 February 2013, 16:31 | Written by Fiona Kirkpatrick

A lot has happened for Birmingham-bred foursome Swim Deep since we saw them perform their first London headline show at the Sebright Arms last October. They’ve toured around the UK with Spector and Splashh, begun recording their debut album, and are set to release their next single ‘The Sea’ in a few weeks’ time. While tonight, well they’re playing a gig at XOYO, one of East London’s best-known venues.

The band’s confidence has grown as well. Granted, the XOYO sound system is decidedly more confidence-inspiring than the one at the Sebright Arms, but even so the boys don’t seem surprised that a few hundred people have packed their puffer-cloat-clad selves into a sweaty basement to watch them play their laid-back guitar music.

The set gets off to a comfortable start. The second song of the night is the band’s hit ‘Honey,’ a beach grunge blend of indie pop perfection. The group barely flinch when the crowd raucously begin to sing the lyrics to their song.

After the fourth song, Zach the drummer takes his shirt off, and Austin, the frontman starts tearing flowers from a bouquet tied to his microphone and tossing them over his shoulder. “It’s Cavan’s birthday!” Austin announces to the audience. “This next song is for you, Cav.” The band then plays ‘Beach Justice,’ a slower-tempo ballad.

Then, Swim Deep treats the crowd to a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Down by the Seaside.’ Despite the explicit attempt at creating a theme (water, the ocean, the sea, swimming) the cover is magnificent and the band’s mastery of the music and vocals shows their confidence as a group.

In addition to playing their recent singles, Swim Deep also showcase some material off of their upcoming album, including ‘Crush,’ about young love. Lyrically, these guys don’t exactly blow Bob Dylan out of the water, but the simplicity of their lyrics combined with their simple guitar riffs makes their songs delightfully intelligible, which is a welcome relief after a year filled with the disruptive sounds of Grimes and Alt-J.

At the core, the boys from Swim Deep are a fun group that don’t take themselves too seriously – they make pleasant guitar music that’s sunny and upbeat. Their performance and personalities radiate enough charisma that seeing them live is an enlightening rather than redundant experience – it expands upon rather than repeats their recorded music.

The lads finish off the night with ‘King City,’ their earliest single and our favorite. At the end, each of them takes a dive (< see what we did there!? Huh? Huh? Oh never mind) into the dancing crowd, Austin stands on the drum kit and starts smashing a cymbal, and the security guard looks on, defeated.

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