Review Summary: Rest assured, Can’t Swim won’t be failing anyone with their full length debut
The most noteworthy quality of Can’t Swim when stacked against other artists in the pop punk scene is how dark their sound and lyric sheet are. On their debut outing, the Death Deserves A Name
EP, they constructed a dismal narrative following the aftermath of the mental breakdown and disappearance of the nameless protagonist’s significant other in an apartment. Topped off with a relatively uncommon emphasis on heavier, low-tuned bass lines, guitar work obscured by fuzz, and a metallic film over rough vocals. It was easily a far cry from the wide range of whiny voiced twenty-somethings bleeding out over middle school level vulnerabilities and real legit girl problems, yo. While far from excellence, being bogged down by a relatively weak songwriting hand and a few technical issues, it was an admirable effort from an act with more potential than the countless number of contemporaries taking refuge on the back pages of Bandcamp’s ‘best sellers’ tab.
The New Jersey quartet’s full length debut on the rapidly growing Pure Noise Records fine-tunes many of the hiccups that crippled their debut and slightly expands on them for a well rounded and focused full-length effort. Fail You Again
, to the comfort of some, does quite a bit to separate itself from the confines of the genre’s inherent pop sensibilities. While they aren’t far removed, as the ‘in your face’ guitar work emphasizes a slick and catchy riff per track, they aren’t as forcibly pronounced or overdone. Can’t Swim put faith in a warm, melodic-heavy atmosphere created by their thick instrumental backing to contrast the off putting lyrical prowess regarding isolation and it pays off well. If anything, Can’t Swim feel right at home with the best of the 90s than they do alongside the modern day visage of the genre. While it isn’t free from issues, ss there are notable instances where the band’s hooks fall flat from their refusal to overindulge in their guitar work. Can’t Swim hit it out of the park with their debut record, offering a well pieced collection of emotionally heavy and engagingly warm songs while avoiding the obvious pitfalls done by so many others around them.