Following on from 2013’s ‘Where the Heaven Are We’, indie-pop five piece Swim Deep from Birmingham are back with their most electronic and frenzied material yet. With the addition of percussionist and keyboard player James Balmont, the band have come through with a psychedelic and intoxicating album of bubble-gum pop songs with an acid house heart.
The first single and opening track, ‘One Great Song And I Could Change The World’ immediately sucked me into the album, the hummed vocal riff is catchy and accessible, however as the track progresses the production gets increasingly more vivid, with layers upon layers of upbeat, high key synths being coated over both acoustic and electric drums creating a sound that’s unlike most other bands at the minute. As an homage to the warehouse scene of the nineties, the song finishes with a vocal sample talking over an instrumental break, this 90’s influence is also apparent in the second track as it follows suit with its acid house influences, though the two songs update the genre for the generation that just missed it.
The third track on the album ‘Green Conduit’ moves the album in a more psychedelic direction, whereas the first two songs are very extravagant from the outset, this track begins relatively stripped back, starting with two vocalists and a guitar playing a standard chord progression in the background, however, the song quickly builds into a crescendo of deep bass and static drums, overwhelming the senses and allowing you to lose yourself in the wall of noise.
The quality of the production and intricacy of the influential material can be heard most vividly on the sixth song ‘Is There Anybody Out There’, beginning with white noise and 80’s sci-fi film sound effects this track quickly moves into the realms of psychedelic pop, ambient music and even stadium rock balladry with the layered vocal style, the four and a half minute long track succinctly incorporates this massive amount of inspirations and manages to produce an uncluttered feel good hit.
‘Imagination’ delves further into the Brit pop era than the rest of the album, with a heavy bass riff in the background of the synth heavy main melody and the subdued backing vocals reminiscent of an absurd Stone Roses/Gorillaz collaboration, the song then launches into an 80’s pop bridge, tying all these elements together sounds ridiculous on paper, nevertheless Swim Deep manage to do it without being tacky or derivative, creating their own stylistic interpretations of tired and recycled genre stereotypes.
Overall the album appears to chart new territory for Swim Deep, the electronic elements of the album are a far cry away from their last albums radio friendly pop style, reminiscent of the eclectic music scene of the late 80’s in Manchester, the album seamlessly blends indie-pop and dance music to create an eclectic and sonically diverse LP, with no two tracks sounding the same and every song as good as the last.
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