The last time we heard from Swim Deep they were opening for the 1975. Then they dropped off the face of the earth for four long years. It’s funny how things are going great and then one thing derails everything. For Swim Deep, it was the loss of their RCA recording contract that threw them for a loop. With no money coming in and no label support, they had two options – throw in the towel or pick up the pieces and start again. Luckily for us, they decided to start again. Old bandmates left, new bandmates came onboard and there was one more thing – they felt reborn and decided to go all out and leave the past behind. The good news – it worked. Emerald Classics is their answer to the struggles of the last four years.
Given the foregoing, it’s not at all surprising that the opening tune is “To Feel Good” – a slow song which speaks to going nowhere in a nowhere location and trying to move forward. The album as a whole tells the story of starting from nothing and making the return to happiness one step at a time. The lyric “Everyone’s Free to be Good” starts the album down the road to redemption. From there we go to “0121 Desire,” a flashback to the young innocent times when you’re younger and everything is easy.
The highpoint of the album is easily “Father I Pray,” which tells the story of a young man making his peace with the past and deciding to leave the comfort of home and set out to find his own way. “Father we move in different ways. I am your son so my love will stay. But I’ve got to go. Find my own way. Father I pray, push me away.” Wow. When you write a prodigal-son type album, you run the risk of coming across as overly-sentimental or cry-babyish. Although they come dangerously close to crossing the line of mawkish, they avoid it. The album ends on a promising note with “Top of the Pops.” “I want to be on the top of the pops with you. Move up from the back of the queue. What are you leaning on Heaven for? Just open your door and I promise we’ll make an escape.”
Musically, there isn’t much of a departure from their earlier albums. They bring back their dreamy, layered synths that make for a lovely soundtrack that merge effortlessly with the story they want to tell.
Emerald Classics drops on October 4th. Do them and yourself a favor – give it a listen. Welcome back, Swim Deep. We hope you make it to the top of the pops.