Album Review of The Fireflow Trade from Swimming
Nottingham based five-piece Swimming have been slowly edging their way down the back straits of ascendancy for a good few months now. Having served their time as members of various bands in and around the city for a number of years, the five members of Swimming initially came together a good eighteen months ago, instantly creating a buzz locally thanks to their energetic, skyscraping live performances, not to mention a clutch of well-received singles and EPs released via Brighton indie Izumi Records. Oh, and did we mention that the drummer was beatbox champion Peter "The Petebox" Sampson? Well we did now, not that their sticksman's alter ego offers any indication of the almighty racket Swimming serve up.
Indeed, it would be hard to describe Swimming as anything other than "prog", if it weren't for the fact that well, progressive rock has actually moved forward at a rate of knots. Nevertheless, 'The Fireflow Trade' is a monstrous affair that recalls the likes of Oceansize at their finest, swirling in ambitious chord changes and overblown guitar solos. The opening 'Panthalassa', the band's most recent 45 and undoubtedly their finest moment to date, makes the grandiose statement of packing three separate song structures into little over six minutes. Its almost like Muse don't exist, or Radiohead were still finding out whether anyone could play guitar (for longer than three minutes per song at any rate). As opening statements of intent go, 'Pathalassa' really does set the scene in impressive fashion, so much in a way that the rest of 'The Fireflow Trade' struggles to live up to its magnificent opener.
That's not to say the rest of the album isn't worthy of attention; if anything, Swimming display an alluring range of diversity throughout 'The Fireflow Trade', not least on former single 'Tigershark' and swathing beauty of 'Crash The Current', which doubles the octave count whilst adding shards of reverb, much to the delight of My Bloody Valentine enthusiasts everywhere. The title track also makes a distinguished attempt at separating Swimming from any of their fellow sonically challenging contemporaries, displaying a mellower, sentimental side to their armoury, even if they probably wouldn't admit to it themselves.
All in all, 'The Fireflow Trade' is a satisfying introduction to Swimming, and even though their name isn't that household friendly outside the confines of NG2, this self-produced effort more than holds its own with those of its genre-transcending peers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Just don't mention Yes.