Label: Mad Dragon Release date: 03/11/09 Website: http://www.myspace.com/helloswimmers The Swimmers’ “People are Soft” offers a relaxing 35 minute trip through their album, staying relatively tame all throughout. The Philadelphia four-piece’s second studio effort finds them taking refuge in their home studio, a setting that shines through on each of the 11 tracks. The intimate setting that allowed the band to write their songs provides a warm and calming feeling in each song. This does, however, sacrifice the “pop” aspect; meaning, nearly every song fails to be catchy and lacks the ability get stuck in a person’s head. The album’s opener “Shelter” does a good job of showing you what the album is about. Almost monotonous with a droning bass line and a lack of drum fills all throughout all the verses of the expressionless voice, the song slowly works into a heavily layered extravaganza of synth, acoustic and electric guitars, and a “wall of sound”. The song tells you that you can expect all these elements and nothing else for the rest of the tracks. The only song on the album that borders what would be defined as “catchy” is the second song “A Hundred Hearts”, which cascades each verse with female background vocals only to lead in with an unrelenting chorus claiming “You’ve only got one heart, but a hundred people want it/If a hundred people want it, they’d be putting prices on it/If you had a hundred hearts, you can try to ration out them/But then one by one they’d break them and you’d only be without them.” Although the album, as a whole, is pleasant, it isn’t without its low points. “Give Me the Sun,” the fifth track on the album opens with an obnoxious female voice for 50 seconds, and is carried out over and over in the song, making the 2:40 long track feel like an eternity. Aside from “Sun” the album is very serene and, for a slightly generic album, manages to stand out and prove the band’s worth. It’s true that no new ideas are expressed in this album, either lyrically or sonically, but if their intention was to make an enjoyable album, they certainly did not miss the mark. Rating: 7/10