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Night Swimming cycle through romantic uncertainty on the dizzying "Evergreen"

10 April 2024, 15:15 | Written by Cassidy Sollazzo

On their first single in two years, Night Swimming take lessons from 90s shoegaze greats to create an all-consuming sound that invites listeners to explore its many components.

There’s been a lot of talk about shoegaze these days. If you consume any sort of music-related media, you’re probably aware of the TikTok-related renaissance the genre finds itself in: 90s legends are experiencing newfound popularity, and younger bands have a new avenue to capitalize on. This often could lead to a lot of emulation from younger bands that borders on parody, approached from a very surface-level perspective. Bristol five-piece Night Swimming set out to go deeper, returning after two years with an overtaking shoegaze sound that is as unique to them as it is rooted in the classics.

On their latest single "Evergreen", Night Swimming dive into overflowing instrumentation and dreamy vocals, taking the crisp and singular sounds from 2022’s "Freight Train" and adding even more depth. With Meg Jones on vocals, Sam Allen and Jesse Roache on guitar, Josh Nottle on bass, and Torin Moore on drums, the five-piece wanted to create even more expansive sounds, leaning into the cinematic qualities of shoegaze and dream pop to make their songs full-body experiences.

Night Swimming respect their elders, and you can tell they did their homework when it comes to the world-building sound they are chasing after. The group notes that Slowdive’s “combination of sensory elements” influenced them to chart down this path on "Evergreen". Faraway guitar riffs and Jones’ lush, Cocteau Twins-esque vocals add layers to the song that, combined with the persistent pulsing of the drums and the melodic basslines, make you want to lean that much deeper into the song to be consumed by all of the elements. Recording live to tape, there's an added sense of togetherness to the track that makes you wonder how that much sound is coming from five people.

The track is structurally unique, with three verses and two hooks rather than the typical verse/chorus/verse song setup. “I see you evergreen” and “Still feel you close to me” act as the “choruses” of the track, offering space for explosion and overflow. This structure gives Night Swimming more room to add their unique flares and build up intensity over time.

You can hear a cathartic release when Jones enters the second hook with the line “when you’re not around / Still I feel you close to me,” propelling her further into the cyclical buildup of swirling, distorted guitars. It’s here that Jones’ vocals transition from whispery to powerful, leaning into the maximalist instrumentation coming from the rest of the band. Moore takes liberties on drums, adding more fills and cymbals to build intensity, while Allen and Roache’s duelling guitars continue to circle around each other.

Night Swimming share “Evergreen” is about “the uncertainty of not knowing where you stand in a relationship. Despite this, it is also an expression of deep feeling for someone." The lyrics explore a back-and-forth between feeling insecure about how someone feels about you, but also being too caught up in your feelings for them to care. The line “I feel like your old tattoo / harder, I ignore the proof / in a high contrast” in the first verse highlights this catch-22: ignoring the fact that the relationship may be imbalanced because your feelings are that strong, even if the proof is right in front of your face. The line “Avoiding cracks in the pavement slabs” in the second verse teases at borderline superstitious behaviour surrounding the relationship. There’s an emotional back-and-forth at play throughout the track, eventually ending on the euphoric with the line “Vivid now / yeah let me down / hand on my waist / spinning round.”

"Evergreen" is out now. Find Night Swimming on Instagram and catch them live at The Grace on 20 April.

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