30 Oct 2015

Swim Deep / Mothers (album review)


“This song's about being on acid” tweets Swim Deep's Austin 'Ozzy' Williams prior to the release of the B-town band's latest LP: 'Mothers'. To say it's different to where they were 2 years ago would be a tad of an understatement: the band's 2013 debut was a lazy hazy daydream, whereas now the hazy nature of their songs is more of the tell tale psychedelia type. The sweethearts of indie pop that served as the soundtrack to EVERYBODY's 2013 summer (don't tell me you haven't danced around your room to Honey, on more than one occasion), but those days are gone but not forgotten. Ozzy's softly spoken lyrics can be subtly detected underneath it all, a nod to their past selves, but one listen to Fuehio Boogie in all its 8 minutes of cacophonous abstract glory, and you're transported to a land only explored in this sorta before by more full on psych bands like Tame Impala and Pond.

The album is experimental to say the least, the band venture into utterly euphoric territory, there's the recognisable hooks, laced with synth in the poppiest numbers Namaste and To My Brother, and crazy sci-fi tinged big numbers in Forever Spacemen.

To My Brother sparkles, it literally glimmers in synth, possibly even being dubbed 'groovy'. It's funky and a perfect slice of pop, heavily influenced, like a lot of the album, by neo-psychedelic culture. The 80s game show themed video to accompany Namaste is fun filled with cameos from fellow indie band frontman Fred Macpherson, magic man Paul Daniels, Ozzy's mum and drummer Zach's dad. Swim Deep play the house band on fictional game show Don't Like Yours Much complete with questionable clothing choices (check out Cav's eyeliner and James' hair).

The album's opener One Great Song and I Could Changed the World sees frontman Ozzy use his signature delicate vocals as an instrument in their own right – cooing softly 'have I said why I love the sunrise?' a continuation of the inevitably positive vibes that come hand in hand with a Swim Deep album.

Green Conduit is softer, more melancholy, with acoustic guitar being plucked softly opening the song, seemingly out of place hidden amongst the big dance numbers the rest of the album offers. 'Hotel California' continues on in the same vein, opening softly with lyrics and harmonies reminiscent of more Where the Heaven are We territory.

Mothers is drenched in synth. There's simply no other description for it. Every song tingles, there simply isn't enough adjectives to describe the mix of twinkling, ticking, fuzzy sounds that accompany Ozzy's voice. Filler tracks are present, Heavenly Moment never finds its feet and Everything is Possible whilst pleasant enough, doesn't pack punch.

Swim Deep have furthered their indie teenybopper stride, but for anyone who held the dreaminess of Where the Heaven Are We close to their heart will  never love a second album in the same way. In terms of raw pop singles, nothing is quite as memorable as the early tracks, but ultimately it's a successful piece of experimentation that will surprise a lot of cynics.

8.0/10