When a pre-release email appears with its watermarked contents and ancillary footnote “for fans of…” it inescapably sows expectations of a certain sound. It’s instructive – and we’re enormously grateful for the opportunity to hear these albums in advance – but the FFO mechanism also implies partial homage and impersonality. This is no-one’s fault but my own and writers like me, overthinking twats who require parallels and connotations to build cursory ideas of bands who’ve poured everything into a song or album, for us to go “huh, so they’re like Black Flag by way of Talking Heads?” Music writing is obsessed with specious comparisons. This is especially salient in emo, where original and well-crafted records are as abundant now as iPhones or funny Fyre Festival memes (Twitter’s greatest day?). The market is flowering, thrillingly so, but also saturated. The adverse side of saturation is that many great albums get lost among the throng and it’s difficult to be blown away by something; optimistically, what we’re drowning in is great and purposeful music, and we can retire clichés like “blown away” from our vocabulary. When Swordfish premiered Rodia’s first single ‘Wash’ on GoldFlakePaint a few months ago it blew me away.

Emo’s historiography pulsates through Rodia, wafting the nostrils like an unpeaceable perfume, and steeply informed by every branching creed of Swordfish’s fervour. Their self-consciousness could so easily cripple them, but the strength of their songwriting and tonal range resists pastiche. ‘Wash’ plunders the mathematical precision of – yip – American Football, while skimming trumpet overtures and screamer backing vocals complete the medley. The slippery guitars of ‘Social Drinker’ and the loud/quiet duopoly acting on ‘Dentistry’ are more markedly current, evocative of The Hotelier or The World Is A Beautiful Place but interesting and moderated on their terms. ‘Trenton Garage’ and ‘Ghost Song’ wear the distinctive urgency of Cameron Boucher’s mastering, fresh off Sorority’s Noise’s instant classic You're Not As ____ As You Think. Compellingly, it’s because of, rather than despite, its intertextuality that Rodia excavates its depths of meaning. Chandler Lach’s crisis of confidence rings twofold; his personal battles, and the orientation of his band in a packed subway car.

Last week Pitchfork released their ‘History of Emo’ cartoon; it’s funny and edifying, though mostly an elaborate subtweet of their resident emo expert and “Twitter nerd” Ian Cohen. Yet what struck me is that emo’s compulsive propensity for self-awareness has always been as critical to its identity as chantalong choruses and perky riffs. It’s imbued in the bark of the family tree since its inception, the obligation to be informed by antecedents but oxymoronically also seek reform. Swordfish aren’t “another emo revival band,” they’re almost the emo revival band, one of the few who capture this paradox poignantly and articulately, and find resolution. In this, Chandler Lach’s bridge on ‘Owen’ seems coyly self-reflexive; “I used to think of you every time I listened to American Football/ you should know I don’t anymore.” I could be overanalysing, but I don’t think it’s just the anomalous ex he’s speaking to here. With all that’s passed, Lach sounds ready to move on, ready for regeneration and acceptance; that he deserves his place in the universe, and that Swordfish deserve their place in emo’s canon.