Swim Deep – Where The Heaven Are We?
Where The Heaven Are We? That is the question posed by the title of Swim Deep’s debut album. If the following eleven tracks are anything to go by, then the answer is: on a beach somewhere, amongst a glorious haze of contentment. The whole album has a wonderful washed out feel to it. Not the bland, forgettable kind that often haunts lo-fi sound but the beautifully crafted, entrancing kind. There’s no doubt that every sound has been thought through and delivered with precision. It is only with such meticulous attention to detail that such an apparently effortless, flowing whole can be created.
With such a sun-kissed sound you might expect Swim Deep to hail from a warm coast on the other side of the world. They don’t. They’re from Birmingham. Grey, land-locked Birmingham, situated in the British Midlands. Talk of sand, sea and sun has an air of longing about it. That same sense of longing runs throughout the album. In King City ‘I wanna be everything that I’m not, I wanna be rich, I wanna show off’. This isn’t pained longing though, it is not paired with anguish but with a warm nonchalance. As Austin Williams sings “I found a place, the sun shines forever” on Francisco, it seems they have good reason to be cheerful.
There’s more to Where The Heaven Are We? than just floating through it without a care in the world. Honey warns “don’t blame the time on your wrist for not doing what makes you tick”. Colour Your Ways contains the best line on the album: ‘throw your ties away, untuck your life’. There are other times when the lyrics get a little lost, washed away when the record was soaked in the sea: eroded to something forgettable ‘you make my sun shine’, ‘tell me what I’ve done to feel this lucky, girl’ or hidden beneath layers of foaming synth.
The record may flirt with sameness a little too much in its middle section. The grungy, garage guitars of The Sea are a welcome change up. These later tracks are all unique but only subtly so. The contrasts between them are such that they are only likely to be noticed by the obsessive listener, the audiophile or the band themselves. Is that a bad thing?
Soul Trippin’ suggests it might be as it falls a little flat and sickly. Stray begins to allay your doubts: the breakdown is superb, raw-edged and powerful; it snaps you out of complacency and must surely go down a storm live. Then the fluttering piano chords of She Changes The Weather begin, and you wonder how it is was you ever had any doubts at all.
She Changes The Weather is one of the songs of the year. Epic. Unforgettable. The perfect summer anthem. And certain to soundtrack some special moments. This is why people make music. It frames the album perfectly. Perhaps, a little too well: the first track is an Intro to She Changes The Weather. Then there are nine more tracks before what feels like the main event. It’s a risky way of arranging the album, in danger of relegating the other tracks to filler, which would do them a disservice. There are great moments throughout the record. Surely they won’t be missed. It’s out today, so buy it and find out for yourself HERE