Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: RCA
It’s better to do something assertively than anything plagued with self-doubt. An argument with more holes than David Cameron’s spit roast, unless you’re in a band aiming to make anything close to popular music. On their frst album, Swim Deep should have had it all. A rabid fan base, more than enough buzz - but somehow they didn’t become the biggest band on the planet.
Britain's Swim Deep amp up their catchy pop hooks and dance beats without shying away from their trademark neo-shoegaze guitar guns on their inspired sophomore album, 2015's Mothers. If the group's debut, 2013's Where the Heaven Are We, found the Birmingham outfit repurposing a catchall brand of late-'80s and early-'90s rock from Ride to the Stone Roses, then Mothers takes the influences even further, mixing in propulsive electronics, synth-heavy new wave lyricism, and exotic Day-Glo trip-hop beats that all speak to a very '90s Brit-pop-centric view of the world. It would be easy to dismiss Swim Deep's ambient, heavily layered aesthetic as merely slavish re-creation were it not for the invention and knack for addictive melody the group displays throughout much of Mothers.
Swim Deep may have taken one look at the languid, wishy-washy indie of their debut and decided to step things up. The Birmingham band – now a five-piece after multi-instrumentalist James Balmont joined them – have ditched the loose and baggy guitar pop of 2013’s Where the Heaven Are We? in favour of psych-pop that contorts itself into pulsing Balearic acid house and motorik rhythms. You can hear notes of Flaming Lips’ atomic wig-outs on Forever Spaceman, while frontman Austin Williams’s blissed-out musings now recall Connan Mockasin more than Ian Brown.
In two years, Swim Deep have gone from indie pop sweethearts to sounding like they’ve spent a lot of time tripping out of their minds. Second album ‘Mothers’ (an ode to “the creators of the universe”, according to frontman Austin Williams) is a reinvention and an exercise in pushing boundaries to limitless new levels. There are bridges to their old sound in the pop pizzazz of ‘Namaste’ and ‘To My Brother”s huge hooks, but elsewhere the focus is on the shock of the new.
Swim Deep have come an awful long way since the release of their debut album Where The Heaven Are We. Leaving behind the spray painted streets of their home city and venturing across the ocean, the outfit have returned with a record that sounds miles from the place they started. Arriving with the beaming energy of a spaceship coming into land, Mothers presents itself with an ethereal glow and futuristic sheer it’s impossible to draw away from.
In the press notes for Mothers, the second album from Swim Deep, it is interesting to note the works the band invite comparisons to. The two main comparisons are Screamadelica by Primal Scream and The Horrors’ Primary Colours. Whilst there might be a common musical link between these records and the sound that Swim Deep are trying to emulate, there’s another common thread - they are landmark releases by groups who didn’t quite get it right on their first attempt.
The general consensus following the release of Birmingham quartet Swim Deep’s debut LP, Where The Heaven Are We, was that it was a perfectly serviceable and solid first effort. It was a record filled to the brim with dreamy, summer anthems and straightforward indie pop that pretty much anyone could get behind; carrying on from where fellow B-Town act Peace left off earlier in 2013. In almost an exact repeat of that situation, Swim Deep are back two years later with their second album, Mothers, which comes just months after Peace released their own second effort.