How To Swim – Album Launch – Retina (or More Fun Than A Vat Of Love)

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‘How to Swim’, what can I say where do I start…  It’s always going to be fun watching this band, and yet its hard to escape the intensity shaped by layers of carefully entwined hooks, chorus’s, and dare I say it even grooves – that the mind can easily boggle leading to temptations of forming extravagant synchronised musical medleys and sharing vast amounts of love to each and everyone around you.

What is more to the point is this band require your attention and ears… Falling somewhere between an unforgettable soundtrack, and a tale of rock and roll proportions, their sublime ditties are full of tenderness, isolation, and of course love… so should I say more … go forth and let them in to your lives.

The first time I saw this delightful lot (there are currently at least 9 members) at King Tuts, I solemnly vowed that I had never seen such a visual array of musicians creating as sensational scores. With songs titled ‘From Here to Dundee Slash Eternity’ and with previous EPs behind them, ‘It stings when I’ and  ‘The littlest Orgasm’, the band have been busy working on their latest release adorned with artwork by the talented Chris Fleming.

And so it was that a general feeling of well being surrounded the impressive brigade of fans, who had made it out to Stereo, Glasgow for the much awaited launch of the album ‘Retina (or more fun than a Vat of Love)’ on Friday 1st October. Cake was available of course to the lucky ones and what with red balloons, sparkly lights and solid support from Gav Thomson and The Low Miffs, a party atmosphere was suitably built up.

Taking to the stage and playing the opener ‘Diego Whirlwind’ (he was a sword swallower) the many parts of How to Swim are laid bare; crafted vocals led by frontman Ink Wilson, majestic harmonies, soothing brass and string parts delicately wrapping around indie guitar progressions, keyboards, choruses and crescendos.

There are many sides to this band and it is songs like ‘Inferiority’ that really make an impression, slightly more stripped back and perhaps drawing as much on punk as funk in the lyrics ‘I will embrace my inferiority’. I could very easily yet am resisting quoting bands that HTS remind me of, listening will bring up many contemporary and past influences with the addition of being refreshingly free from any ties to one genre.

High School Apocalypse melodically stomps along with equal measures of dread and excitement as Ink Wilson tunefully admits that ‘you better run, run away’. As the band progress through the album more haunting and precious sounds lie within ‘false’, which beautifully drifts around the audience. Further excitement, guitar led and orchestral antics follow and in songs like ‘Activity Anxiety Trust’, more complex arrangements and rich song writing shine through.

Released on the bands ‘Personal Hygeine’ label on Monday 4th October the record is available for download on ITunes, & Bandcamp (rumour has it that a free download single resides here) and will shortly be up on Spotify for those who are sufficiently curious plus selected independent record stores across the country currently in Glasgow’s Fopp, Monorail, & Avalanche!

So after all that, if you like your music spicy, sinister, and sweet … this band is definitely swimming now.

How to Swim Myspace
Free download at Bandcamp
Tom’s Flickr

By Tom Manley on October 5, 2010


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