Album Review... Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We

Swim Deep have taken their time. One of the leading names emerging from a new-wave of B-town Brit-Pop bands, Swim Deep have been making their name alongside ‘PEACE’ &; ‘JAWS’, the former of which have already released their début record to critical acclaim. Now just over 3 months after the release of ‘In Love’, we have ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ and it’s time for Austin &
Co. to show us what they’ve had up their sleeves for so long. Does the album seamlessly integrate itself into the river of defining brit-pop débuts or does it keep to itself too much and try to hold its own current?

What becomes clear in the opening three tracks: ‘Intro’, ‘Fransisco’ & the previously released single ‘King City’ is that this record has arrived from a place of positivity. The boys have taken the attitude of ‘Why don’t we just do it?’, it’s about forgetting that the people around you can’t help themselves and doing what you need to do to achieve what you want. These ideas are cemented in the fifth track ‘Colour Your Ways’. After a deep sea synth echoes through the intro, Austin states he’s ‘had his head in the sands and it feels like waiting’, later proposing in the chorus that these problems only take a little action. Plunged within these first five tracks is the track that brought Swim Deep to the attention of the wider UK, ‘Honey’. The track is still just as big as it was last year and the productive ethos of Swim Deep presents itself wonderfully in the lyrics ‘don’t just dream in your sleep, it’s just lazy’. Unfortunately, the DNA of ‘Honey’ is a reason for some gripes in later tracks. At points WITHAW (especially in the middle-ground tracks), lets Austin’s voice fade behind the synths and when this happens those particular tracks become a little forgetful. In addition to the clanging synths and twinkling guitars that we’ve already heard in releases like the aforementioned ‘Honey’, it feels as if Swim Deep might be recycling structural ideas a little. Hopefully, this is just a case of the band defining their sound and in later releases we’ll see them experiment more with structure and instrumentation.

Now, this in no way means that the non-single releases are anything worth missing! The musical tropes that Swim Deep fall (perhaps even, throw themselves) into consistently pay off. The guitar lines ricochet throughout the record, they swim round your head as if they’ve been recorded 20,000 leagues under and in ‘Red Lips I Know’, the riffs are met by a grungier sound which really lets you feel the boys hammering down on the drums. ‘Soul Trippin’ is where the previously iterated ideas behind Swim Deep are turned into a whole track, the band actually stray from their classic structure here as well and it pays off with the track sounding more mature then most others on the record. ‘Stray’ feels like it slowly releases its energy for you. Beginning with a deep bass line, it pushes out its synths seductively until your slowly nodding your head along. The backing vocals on this track are magic and float behind Austin’s lead vocal perfectly. But wait, we’re not done here. Suddenly, a blur-esque guitar line kicks in and the song starts to build itself up again in to a slightly harder-edged version. Now it’s really kicking and the backing vocals have become mere ‘Oohs’ that float intertwined with the bass until the track arrives at a sudden halt.

‘She Changes The Weather'’ . It'’s a brave move to release your album's closer long before it'’s released, especially when it'’s this special. The piano sample intro builds into a beautifully layered introduction, swelling with guitar lines and smooth cymbals. This is a real love song, there'’s no pretension, the lyrics are honest and rarely fall to cheese. The guitar phrases crash across each bar, soaked in delay sounding like passing, screaming trains. In this final track, Swim Deep transcend their surf/brit-pop label and shine as one of the best tracks of the year is put on display.

The boys certainly swam deep for this record , they spent a long time in the blue depths but came out with something that might be more for themselves than their fans, which isn’t a bad thing for a band to do but can isolate the listener at some points. They came back with a record where every track has been soaked in the ocean and emerged with guitar riffs pouring off of sun-soaked synthesizers. I hope in the future, Swim Deep can stray from their comfort zone a little and experiment. Tracks like ‘She Changes The Weather’ show that they can create something very special when they do that.

Written by - James Farmer

Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We
Out of 10: 7/10

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