Listen to 405 Radio
  • No Events

    We'll get something in the diary soon

Swimming - Ecstatics International

Swimming - Ecstatics International

by , 02 November 2011

A near faultless, cliché-free exploration of contemporary synth pop - how’s that for an opening statement (and poster quote)?

Ok, so I may be exaggerating slightly, but Ecstatics International, the second album from Nottingham five-piece Swimming, really is rather good. A party record on the whole, it dances between euphoric pop and well…euphoric pop. If this were the work of a semi-edgy boy band (answers on a postcard please, clue: there isn’t one) it’d be hailed as a pop masterpiece. What I’m trying to say is these guys have made a near faultless…you get the picture.

Take lead single ‘Neutron Wireless Crystal’. Choppy synth swells fight for your attention before the band kicks into what sounds like – and they’ll wince at the comparison – a really, really great Savage Garden song (a contradiction in terms I know). If it all goes horribly wrong, they could do worse than sell a song like this to The Wanted. I’m being deadly serious.

‘In Ecstatics’ melds thrillingly unnerving melodic leaps with Kele Okereke style yelps – “Ecstatics! Ecstatics! Ecstatics!” – as frontman John Sampson invites the listener back to his place for a brief peak at his Raison d'être (“I never feel like I’m free/Until You’re singing with me/Gotta keep me going, gotta keep me going”). Like the rest of the album, ‘In Ecstatics’ is mixed loud with plenty of top-end, assaulting the ears in the most delicious way possible. ‘Kid Global’ raids the ever expanding larder of contemporary Scandinavian pop: big drums, fluttering synths and a mid 80s melodic sensibility combine perfectly to create a snowstorm of sound, reminiscent of Finland’s mighty Rubik.

If Chris Martin and co. really do want to try their hand at ‘’re-inventing the wheel”, (rather than turning out dirge like ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’, scientifically proven to be the worst song of 2011), then the anthemic ‘I Do (Come True)’ would serve them well as a blueprint. It’s like a Coldplay song beamed in from the year 2054. ‘Sun in the Island’ stays just on the right side of cheesy, a sci-fi love story bringing to mind Hot Gossip’s ‘I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper’. The rampant psychedelia of ‘Fire at Blue Point’ and the more conventional ‘Beat Beat of your Heartbeat’ demonstrate the band’s mastery of the indie-pop song. ‘Classic 1001 Dreams’ picks up where ‘Neutron Wireless Crystal’ left off; ‘All Things Made New (Stand)’ takes the pop baton and runs with it.

The only sour note is ‘Mining for Diamonds’. I refer to it in my notes as “a bit of a downer…a bit early, shame to spoil the party”, which it does, albeit momentarily. It’s a fixable kink in an otherwise faultless suit of armour. Buy this album now, I implore you.

Rating: 9/10

Purchase and listen

Don't Miss Out

Related Reviews

  • Moon Duo - Horror Tour [EP]

    Moon Duo - Horror Tour [EP]

    by Steve Mcgillivray

    Moon Duo, is the side project of Wooden Shjips guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson. Johnson and collaborator Sanae Yamanda are known for creating sweeping soundscapes, with a goth slant. The weapons of choice are guitar, keyboards and organ, with a dash of feedback for good measure. The latest EP is loosely Halloween themed, so with that in mind, grab your pumpkin lantern and follow me. [read more]

  • Delicate Steve – Wondervisions

    Delicate Steve – Wondervisions

    by Jack McKenna

    I seem to have developed a taste for reviewing solo artists with monikers, and today follows the same suit. New Jersey's producer come songwriter Steve Marion, aka Delicate Steve, who has opened for the likes of Battles, Yeasayer and Cut Copy over the years, and is set to play this year's End of the Road Festival, brings us his debut album Wondervisions, which is released through Luaka Bop. [read more]

  • Raleigh Moncrief – Watered Lawn

    Raleigh Moncrief – Watered Lawn

    by Ashley Davies

    As often happens in musical scenes, there are some individuals that find they can crossover from a musicians role to that of the producer / engineer. Raleigh Moncrief has done that successfully in his career and has become quite sought after in a variety of roles. Having played as touring guitarist with Marnie Stern, The Advantage and collaborating with Zach Hill, he found himself co-producing the 2009 Dirty Projectors acclaimed album - Bitte Orca. [read more]

  • Balam Acab – Wonder/Wander

    Balam Acab – Wonder/Wander

    by Daniel Offen

    In the field of electronic music there is much more room for innovation within sound. Musicians have done pretty much everything they can with a guitar and nothing has ever really managed to sound better than Loveless in 1992. Those who are looking for records that sonically are very individual, different and beautiful have long since turned to electronic and experimental music. [read more]


Follow Us

Recommended Posts

Popular Posts

Mailing List

Sign up to our weekly mailing list.