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The Swimmers - People are Soft

People are Soft

The Swimmers

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

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
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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

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