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Swim Deep – 'Where the Heaven Are We' album review

A debut album of sunny guitar pop which is best in short bursts

Summer sunshine is great, but what if it goes on for too long? Your body and brain go fuzzy, everything gets close and muggy and somehow flat, and everyone starts wishing for a blast of cold air to drive away the fug. In the middle of these suffocating dog days, four promising young Brummies are putting out their debut album as Swim Deep.

‘You make my sun shine’, ‘stop waiting, go vacating’, ‘go down to the sea’, ‘it’s a hot winter in my mind’, ‘with the sun on my back, it’s a nice day’: this band are on a permanent summer holiday, and their lyrics won’t let us forget it. With tons of heat-haze reverb, summertime shoegaze guitar, dreamy Californian keyboards, murmured summer-breeze backing vocals, and lazy-day melodies all over the place, ‘Where the Heaven Are We’ is full of warm, shimmery guitar-pop. ‘Red Lips I Know’ has an enchantingly chiming guitar-line, and early singles ‘Honey’ and ‘King City’ – a cheeky fantasy about Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, set to be a festival chant-along like MGMT’s ‘Kids’ or Arcade Fire’s ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ – get breathtaking new widescreen versions.

Like direct sunlight, though, ‘Where the Heaven Are We’ is best in short bursts. It would be blissful if it wasn’t so unrelenting: however great the songs are on their own, together they're just a bit too too sweet and sunny, with prolonged exposure leading to stickiness and exhaustion. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing, and all we need to fully appreciate this particular musical heatwave is another long, hard winter. On the other hand, since the album’s last lyric is ‘seems like it’s never getting cold’, it sounds as if Swim Deep will be spending Christmas on the beach.
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