Taking the Scottish music scene by storm right now is swim school, no two ways about it. They’ve been tipped as a future festival headliner and I completely buy into that — they’ve got the right recipe, with their heavy indie-rock melodies, on-trend edgy style and — call me vacuous — but a roll call of really pretty guitars.
The five-track EP, ‘making sense of it all’, is the first full body of work that the band’s released, and it’s wall-to-wall rippers. It explores particularly relatable themes, which makes it not only a collection of songs that you want to keep playing, but one that gives you pops of revelations on every occasion you listen.
There’s a dark grunginess to the opener, ‘let me inside your head’, and ‘outside’, the closing piece, is still such a tune. The riffs are punchy, energetic and slightly distorted, with Alice Johnson’s soft, angelic vocals taking centre stage. It was a solid pitch for the band when they released it as a single, but it slots into this EP puzzle so well, too.
Delicate and well-rounded, ‘everything you wanted’ is a light-shining piece that’s very introspective but unassuming. It sits right in the middle of the offering, so it’s nicely placed to break up the songs that showcase swim school’s brasher signature style.
With the aforementioned festival slots in mind, you can absolutely tell that ‘see red’ would whip crowds into frenzies within milliseconds. It’s a foot-stomper, and then some.
But, for me, the favourite has to be ‘anyway’. Perhaps it’s its catchiness that gets me, or maybe the haunting vocals. On balance, though, it’s the blend of pacy instruments alongside the on-point lyrics that speaks to me. The track’s emotive and goosebump-inducing all at once.
If we’re set to get more along these lines from swim school going forward, we’d better hold onto our hats. Faultless.