Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We
- Malcolm Jack
- 16 July 2013
Birmingham's Swim Deep is not what the world is waiting for
If the NME remained the great kingmaker it once represented, such a so-very-now band as Swim Deep - think glistening synth-pop retrofitted to a catch-all approximation of late 80s/early 90s indie, which is to say, so very then - might be mugging from the cover of every music mag on the shelf right now (and maybe this one too, who knows).
But the NME and indie rock alike are relatively marginalised forces these days (chicken or the egg?), and much like their not-dissimilar-sounding fellow over-hyped Brum pals Peace, this floppy-haired Birmingham quartet can’t help but feel like a wearisome throwback to times probably better left remembered rather than relived. Swim Deep are four late-teen/early twenty-something lads with a cocksure swagger (default NME darlings pose) on a perfectly noble quest to get girls dancing while their boyfriends sway locked arms-over-shoulders to the kind of massive choruses that don’t get really written much in guitar music these days. But none of it can disguise the fact that they don’t so much swim deep into as merely skim the surface of musical invention.
‘Don’t just dream in your sleep, it’s just lazy,’ sings Austin Williams on the chorus of Where The Heaven Are We's best song, the bleary-eyed anthem ‘Honey’, which is rich coming from a frontman whose idea of industriousness is aping Tim Burgess blissed-out drawl at every turn (‘Red Lips I Know’ and especially ‘Stray’ might as well be early Charlatans B-sides). The likes of ‘Francisco’ and ‘King City’ meanwhile could have been dreamed-up around a conference table by major label execs on the hunt for the next indie-lite Radio 1 A-list breakout number - all chugging bass lines, gleaming synth melodies and woo-ooh-ing wordless vocal hooks. Which all sits a little strangely next to the likes of ‘Soul Trippin’, a stoner-y saunter pairing up shuffling baggie Soup Dragons-style with shimmering Stone Roses guitars. What the world is waiting for? The world will just have to keep on waiting.