Telethon
Swim Out Past The Breakers


4.0
excellent

Review

by nilsson USER (6 Reviews)
September 26th, 2021 | 23 replies


Release Date: 08/20/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "The best Jeff Rosenstockcore album of 2021"

Reflection and regret are at the core of the sugary power pop of Telethon’s Swim Out Past The Breakers. Kevin Tully, the band’s singer and principal songwriter, is constantly remembering, asking how his past has led to or resembles his present. The prevailing question of the record is why we keep making the same mistakes and how continually difficult it can be to rectify them, why “someone with such a simple problem can’t keep it solved”.

This type of reflective attitude certainly isn’t a novelty in the genre. From “Thirteen” by Big Star to the entire Jeff Rosenstock solo catalogue, guys with an ear for hooks and a punk affect seem to love looking backward, to celebrate or bemoan what was. But Swim Out Past The Breakers doesn’t really evoke a sense of nostalgia, it’s got an attitude that is clearer than sentimentality: I was a screw-up then and I’m a screw-up now and I’ll certainly be one in the future.

Speaking of Rosenstock, he is probably the most immediate analog to Telethon. They’re less nervy and definitely less political than Rosenstock, but they have a similar comfort seamlessly incorporating various genre signifiers (surf rock guitar on “Marlinspike”, ska riffing on “Cyan”, light-hardcore shouting on “Masterationalizer”) and have similar tastes in instrumentation and arrangement. There are delicate bells on “Shit (Jansport)” and “Panorama (The Polynesian)”, horns on “Outstandingly (The Riviera)”, and goofy (a compliment) keyboards basically all over the damn thing. It never gets as heavy, lyrically or musically, as a Jeff Rosenstock album, but Swim Out Past The Breakers feels like it’s made with a similar ethos: plenty of variety, maximalism over purity, hooks over everything.

Though Tully is really the star of the album, more than half of the songs feature guest musicians or vocalists, creating a ton of variety across the record and even within some songs. Take opener “Shit (Jansport)” as a representative example: fingerstyle acoustic guitar and bells lead into pop-punk riffing leads into a jazzy call-and response breakdown courtesy of Franz Nicolay and Tiny Stills’ Kailynn West leads into a frenzied final statement about the baggage we are all carrying around in our heads. It’s dizzying, engaging, and exceedingly theatrical.

So what is all the energy and theatricality of Swim Out Past The Breakers in service of? Well, omnipresent frustration, people we love or loved but let fall away, the difficulty of changing what we don’t like about ourselves. Tully writes about oversharing with Home Depot employees, about pissing off your boss by mistake in an e-mail, about projecting uneasy companionship onto a spider in the corner of your room. He mines his past, pulling up scenarios and concerns that feel relatable and engrossing. It is, as Telethon’s Bandcamp bio says, “Powerpoppunkrock for the modern kids.” And it’s really excellent.



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user ratings (34)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
nilsson
September 26th 2021


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review summary courtesy of SlothcoreSam's soundoff.

nilsson
September 26th 2021


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there a way to bypass the content filter? The opener is called "Shit (Jansport)", would like for that to be clear.

Slex
September 26th 2021


12636 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hard 5 for me tbh



Glad this got a review

Digging: Mol - Diorama

Slex
September 26th 2021


12636 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes just edit yr review and put the swears back in and they'll show up

nilsson
September 26th 2021


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you!

Dedes
September 26th 2021


8045 Comments


"Oversharing with Home Depot employees"
This but with the random workers at my local donut shop. Man reality is a bitter bitch

SlothcoreSam
September 26th 2021


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Oh happy days!

Another excellent nilsson review of one of my favorite albums of the year.



Agree hard on all the guest appearances adding not only a heap of diversity, but also introducing us to some up and coming emo talent, (Tiny Stills, Jharriah, Future Teens, Barely March) and refamilarising with some old friends (Franz Nicolay, Chris Farren, Devon Kay).



If you haven't already you should check their last 2 albums as well. The Grand Spontanean, is an apocalyptic epic, about finding the end of the internet. It has a heap of guest appearances as well, and was my album of the year for 2017. You have to listen to it in order, as it has a "choose your own adventure" thing in regards to track selection towards the back end. There is even a band within a band, part of the story, that does a quick 3 song set. It's so good.



Digging: Anthrax (UK) - Serfs Out

SitarHero
September 28th 2021


13639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why does the album title reference Santa Monica? Checking it now and it might just end up being in rotation for a bit.

GreyShadow
September 28th 2021


5443 Comments


i've never heard a 2 minute track and went "ehh this sounds okay" to being completely awestruck by the end of it before. Shit was just that track for me. woah

SlothcoreSam
September 28th 2021


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The whole album is like that GreyShadow.



Everything song individually is great, it's the best album for a playlist.

GreyShadow
September 29th 2021


5443 Comments


just put it on, will report back!

Storm In A Teacup
September 29th 2021


36589 Comments


Vision a little blurry from waking up. Saw this and saw Maggie from the simpsons as the cover

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2021


26990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Great review for one of the best albums of its kind to come out this year

SlothcoreSam
September 29th 2021


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I love Chris Farren on Matrix, also when Farren sung on Telethon's previous albums the songs have always been my favorite.



I put forward he joins the band as a duel vocalist.

nilsson
September 30th 2021


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks!

SlothcoreSam
September 30th 2021


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

What's next on your radar to review nilsson?



AffableMartyr
October 2nd 2021


548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Probably my favorite album of the year so far

Scoot
October 5th 2021


20890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this is great

SlothcoreSam
October 5th 2021


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Keep the hype coming boys, this is a special band, who deserve a lot more attention around here.

mynameischan
Emeritus
October 6th 2021


1954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Checker Drive immediately went on repeat



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