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The Swimmers - People are Soft

People are Soft

The Swimmers

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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Though the lead singer (in the liner, no credits are attributed to any members) sounds very much like Ray Davies, this groups' music is not very Kinksy but instead a more futuristic pop sound with pronounced rock edges, dreamlike but with borders and beats. The group issued a debut, this is their second release, but decided to completely reinvent their sound while building a recording studio from the ground up, after workaday employment repairing massive church organs and majoring in musical performance in college. Music is what they live.

Named after a John Cheever short story, The Swimmers are alternatingly dense and airy, infused with electronica, staggered rhythms, skyblown choruses, and compositional brightness despite the often harshly pleasant guitar attacks. There's a large element of innocence and wonder scattered throughout the CD, not to mention clever arrangements counterpointed by simple lines within lines within lines. A John Foxx episode occurs here, some Teardrop Explodes there, a shred of Big Country, some Utopia, Ultravox, and a number of even older influences: touches of Bowie and Bolan.

Save Me is a particularly attractive cut. I doubt it would make mainstream air but should prove virally infectious to alt stations (ya listening, Nik Harcourt?), a more cosmic version of the marvelous Guggenheim Grotto after they'd had some coaching in percussives and emphasis. The follower, Nervous Wreck, is equally lofty, building and building until a seductive cloud diorama is achieved, ringing with harmonics. The group's 2008 debut release was warmly received by critics, and I can't see how the inky brethren will fail to eat this one up. There's just too much here not to.

Track List:

  • Shelter
  • A Hundred Hearts
  • Drug Party
  • What This World is Coming To
  • Give Me the Sun
  • Save Me (From the Brightness)
  • Nervous Wreck
  • To the Bells
  • Dresses Don't Fit
  • Anything Together
  • Try to Settle In

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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