Swim Deep are graduating from a different sort of institution, because since the band emerged they’ve been consistently labeled as Digbeth alumni. ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ might stem from a scene in a Midlands city, but it doesn’t rely on it. These days ‘being B-town’ seems to just mean you’re mates with Peace and JAWS. It doesn’t tell you anything about what Swim Deep have created themselves.
So, away with all this B-town drivel, because this is not an album built around new fads and bandwagons. ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ is an album with its foundations cemented in lasting nostalgia and a overarching love of great music. Fusing spacey, wavy psychedelia with baggy Hacienda, and then smashing in angsty shoegaze and a waft of synthpop for good measure is the sort of ‘reckless’ genre-clashing that might prompt a town hall meeting of angry devotees withering on about integrity. Swim Deep, though, have a brilliantly flippant pick and mix attitude to music bygone that only a young, enthusiastic, hungry band can pull off. Swim Deep are not shy about their influences either; in fact they are positively brimming with them.
The melodramatic snare sounds of ‘Francisco’ breathe with Cure-ish melodies, and Austin Williams’ bittersweet, maudlin lyricism owes more than a smidgen of gratitude to The Smiths. Slinky guitar melodies and tumbling snares on ‘Stray’ may as well be ‘Lovecats’ hit by a ten tonne truck of melancholy. ‘King City’ sounds like a stomping gothic synth-relic transported to 2013 with the ease of Doctor Who’s TARDIS.
Swim Deep don’t just play tribute on ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ – they make all their influences add up to something that belongs firmly to them. This album is cherry-picked nostalgia with a shimmering polish; fit for the more-hip-than-thou connoisseurs and the eager radio consumer alike. Swim Deep have written a youthful, entertaining debut that it’s hard to find fault with, and they graduate from B-Town with a first class degree.
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