Prior to the summer release of Swim Deep’s debut, they were already in a good place. Having bagged opening slots for Two Door Cinema Club and Spector over the last year, they had promoted their quirky persona and secured a female fan following through releasing as little music as possible. The sheer extent of this can be understood from twitter pages which began to crop up celebrating for example, front man Austin Williams’ nose or bassist Cavan McCarthey’s hair. But in spite of any previous familiarity with Swim Deep’s facial features and songs, Where The Heaven Are We is inclusively a sun-drenched dream-pop record that shines in the toppling heap of 2013 releases.
Yes, they’re from B-Town, the name given to Birmingham’s recently established music scene. Yet Swim Deep don’t sound that much like Peace, Peace don’t sound anything like Troumaca, and Troumaca don’t sound at all like Jaws. Arguably the only thing that these bands have in common besides origin is a bit of a dodgy fashion sense. Without any background knowledge of the Baggy Brummies in question, their sound could stem from the same place as West Coast surf rockers Wavves or NY hazy hitmakers DIIV. This may perhaps be pushing it, but the lengthy instrumental interludes and the percussive backbone of the record (especially potent in She Changes The Weather) even give the impression that a matured Swim Deep could be suited for an arena stage.
After the mellow Intro which tells us all that we really need to know about Where The Heaven Are We, with its youthful Nirvana-esque riff and Williams lethargically reflecting on a teenage lover who makes him trip, the record takes off with a lighthearted ‘1,2,3,4!’ in Francisco, proving that this is a band having the time of their life playing music. Littered with its fair share of oohs and ahhs, the album captures Swim Deep’s thrilling road trip towards fame.
In Soul Trippin’, Williams speaks for the whole band when he says ‘I wanna be on TV and magazines’, amplifying the previous declaration, ‘I wanna be rich, I wanna show off’ in King City, the first single and ode to Jenny of Warpaint. Dreaming seems to be the key theme, with the most memorable lyric being the highly philosophical ‘don’t just dream in your sleep it’s just lazy’ in Honey. This is certainly expected from a group of friends who progressed from meeting in Morrison’s to having a Top 40 album.
For seekers of pop with personality, Where The Heaven Are We is the real deal, complete with the occasional handclap and church organ sound. It’s honest and free of subliminal messages, which explains the overwhelming connection between Swim Deep and their devotees.