Album Review: Swimming – The Fireflow Trade

SwimmingAlbum Review: Swimming – The Fireflow Trade [Colourschool]

Having heard Swimming‘s excellent debut double A-side single, ‘Panthalassa​/Crash The Current’ (which came out about a month ago now) it was with great anticipation that I sat myself down in front of my hi-fi and pressed play. Yes, I have a hi-fi and yes I still use the term hi-fi, and I’m happy to as well, because this is the kind of album that deserves a decent CD player. Swimming, have amongst their number no less than four trained sound-engineers. This means two things. Firstly, that they can save money on production costs (the whole album was recorded for 810 squids) and secondly, that they can pretty much do what the hell they like in terms of creative control and musical direction.

The album opens with the aforementioned ‘Panthalassa’, a song which I have already waxed lyrical about elsewhere, but the band have taken the trouble to give it a proper introduction by inserting a small watery refrain, which is then obliterated rather nicely when the song kicks in proper. It’s still a great tune and works well in contrast to the proceeding song, ‘Tigershark’, a nice jerky dance-pop tune with a glorious swirling chorus and delightfully grinding breakdown at the end. The other side of the album’s lead single – ‘Crash The Current’ – is again given a gentle re-working and segues smoothly in from the slightly plain ‘Ease Down The River’.

Apart from the album’s current single, ‘Eagle Aviary’ is probably the strongest track on Swimming‘s debut. It’s a slow building, jangling, guitar-led song that slowly builds in pace from a crawl to a gallop, winding you in with an infectious vocal hook. It’s full of false starts, drops and other bits of song-writing trickery that keep the attention and should be a lot of fun live.

Overall, ‘The Fireflow Trade’ is a highly listenable album and one that sounds a lot bigger than its meagre budget would suggest. However Swimming, in their quieter moments, seem to be susceptible to indulgences in questionable ’90s alt. rock and occasionally come across like a  benevolent Deftones. Fortunately, innovative songs such as ‘Panthalassa’ and ‘Crash the Current’ more than make up for any dalliances with cliché.

Matt Parker

Released: 22/06/09

Written for
4or The Record

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