I always thought it was a hard accomplishment to be an artist/band that writes bright, shiny pop that pours out good times - optimism that doesn't sound cheesy or contrived. I can count on my fingers how many bands I think do this well including bands like The Beach Boys and early Of Montreal. Swim Atlantic did a good job convincing me on their new self-titled album that they should be in contention.
They do a couple of things well such as write instantly catchy pop tunes that are perfect for the summer months and do other things even better such as their vocal harmonies. The vocal harmonies are really what make this group work - without them they would be a good pop band but the vocals are where it’s at. I haven't been this impressed with this style of harmonizing since Sung Tongs by Animal Collective. In fact, the vocals harmonies here are more reminiscent of the 1950’s and 60’s surf style obviously bringing to mind The Beach Boys who seem to be the most direct influence on this album. The album consists of six relatively short songs lasting around the three or four minute mark.
The album begins with one of the stronger songs entitled “Seam to Seam.” The song immediately plays into their strengths by starting with a tom roll, a surf rock riff and layers of vocals that peak until they drop finally giving way to the grove of the song. The song is pretty catchy, addictive and is the sort of song that will make you forget about your worries even if for a little while. The brilliant “We Will” is simply vocals and harmonizing barbershop quartet style that should have lasted about three minutes instead of 30 seconds. Next up is “Runaway” which starts to find its energy when the chorus hits and the entire band sings. Another near perfect summer song that will make you feel unbridled joy. “Closest to Perfect” starts off as a ballad that turns into a ska song that wants to emulate “Misirlou” by Dick Dale & The Del Tones. It is a fun song that will have live attendees shaking their hips 1950’s style. Closing the album is “Oh so Sweet” which is the most rock-oriented of the bunch but still displays some of their ska tendencies. Swim Atlantic is a good band with great vocal work that rarely stumbles on this EP. If you have any need to be put in a good mood quickly you may want to try listening to it.
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