For many artists, the prospect of losing two band members in addition to a record deal may signal the beginning of a downward spiral. However, whilst Swim Deep were stripped of their label’s backing, Rory Wiltshire assures us the Birmingham quintet persist in expressing feelings of hope and heart in third offering Emerald Classics.
The rejuvenating aura that Swim Deep master within Emerald Classics is no more evident than within opening track ‘To Feel Good’. The Margate Social Singing Choir, alongside the conversational tone of lead vocalist Austin Williams, assist in installing a sense of optimism into the most mundane of tasks. “Now my Mum sent me down the shop for electric and cigs / The sun’s coming out” creates an uplifting ambience surrounding even the most simple things in life.
The close to home nature of the album is emphasised in ‘0121 Desire’. The synth heavy track pays tribute to local Birmingham pub ‘The Emerald’, with the band leaving no page unturned in offering a lens into a period of struggle. ‘Drag Queens in Soho’ further explores notions of acceptance, or a lack of perhaps.
‘Sail Away, Say Goodbye’ acts as a nostalgic highlight of the record, seeing the band at their sentimental best. The majestic vocals of Williams adds diversity to an album that flourishes through its ability to address periods of both heartbreak and elation. ‘Happy as Larrie’ provides a glimpse of this ecstasy, with its infectious beat reinforcing a sense of assurance.
Yet from the depths of despair arise ultimate highs. ‘Top of the Pops’ sees a desire to escape to the West Coast, whilst ‘Never Stop Pinching Myself’ is likely to reflect the feelings of a fan base starstruck at a Swim Deep release in 2019.
A staple of a 2013 indie disco and likely to find their way into a 2019 playlist, it is certainly too early to write Swim Deep off. Emerald Classics acts as the perfect remedy in reigniting the days of the ruling indie rock of the West Midlands.