Album Review – Swimmer One


Swimmer One -Dead Orchestras’ (Biphonic)

Swimmer One first appeared on the radar around seven years ago with the release of two excellent EPs entitled We Just Make Music For Ourselves and Come On, Let’s Go!. Their debut album The Regional Variations was released in 2007, and around that time they became the first band I ever interviewed for this blog.

Now here’s time for an honest confession: I liked the debut album, gave it the thumbs up, but deep down I never quite felt it lived up to the first two EPs. But Dead Orchestras has been on the iPod since it first arrived here at 17 Seconds Records, and I think it will stay on there for quite some time. Now a three piece with the addition in 2007 of Laura Cameron Lewis joining Hamish Brown and Andrew Eaton, this second album sees them firing on all cylinders and delivering an album that may have had a long gestation period but it’s been worth it.

When I interviewed the band, they spoke of their love for the original work of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), particularly classic albums like Architecture & Morality. And in Dead Orchestras, Swimmer One have produced an album with a sound that is distinctively theirs (and which I for one think Snow Patrol have tried to rip off with their ‘Just Say Yes’ single). See like with the aforementioned OMD, the likes of the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode, and more recently, X-Lion Tamer, Swimmer One have shown that electro-pop does not have to be a slight thing, but a thing of real beauty. ‘Pop’ as oppsed to rock has seemed less serious, less worthy, and if it’s sought acceptance, it’s had to beg to be taken under the label of electronica or some other in the hope that it will make it okay. Not here. This is pure pop, in the best sense of the word.

From the opening title track, this is an album that draws you in, on its’ own terms. With songs like ‘This Club Is For Everyone, Even You’ and ‘Psychogeography’ the luscious pop within cannot fail to warm even the coldest of hearts. This is the album Swimmer One have wanted to make, and they’ve definitely delivered it.


Dead Orchestras is released on Biphonic on May 31.

Swimmer One – This Club Is For Everybody, Even You by Biphonic Records

Swimmer One – Psychogeography by Biphonic Records

Read more about the songs on the album

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