Monday, June 21, 2021

Cold Water Swimmers New Album Is a Nostalgic Refresher Fit For The Summer

Cold Water Swimmers’ debut album ‘Holiday at the Secret Lake’ is coincidentally as refreshing as a dip in a cold pool, finding a striking balance between nostalgia and originality.

The Manchester trio’s newest LP is highly impressive, with a driven, consistent sound that carries through every cut on the album - imagine this being played out loud on a gloriously sunny Saturday in Ladybarn Park, with a couple of ice-cold cans to match. It has that kind of ‘play out loud’ ability, and that’s saying something.


The opening track ‘Breaking Hearts’ ethereal, 70’s-esque acoustic guitar is the perfect introduction to the album. 

Slightly softer in comparison to some of the tracks that proceed it, it is a solid track with vocals effects that really enhance the ethereal vibe of the song. All in all, it is a great opener that sets the scene of what is to come, it has a real ‘Stealers Wheel’ tone to it.


Love Is Insane’ picks up the tempo, with a steady beat provided by drummer Selina Clement Woolnough commanding the rest of the instruments into place. Coupled with some clever electric guitar riffs and a catchy chorus also, this song will stay in your head long after the track has finished.  


The next cut, aptly named ‘Summer Breeze’ is a classic example of how rhythm and lead guitar should pair. The rhythm guitar chugs along with some ascending and descending riffs as the lead adds some tasteful, quirky ad-libs and additions which really flesh out the song. Helped by some keys in the chorus and some layering in the locals, this post-punk tune’s chorus “open up the window / if you wanna catch a summer breeze” will be a perfect addition to anyone’s summer playlist.


‘Burn Your Idols’ is a much darker, heavy track in comparison to its predecessors. Staying with the ascending and descending riffs on guitar, the bass really shines through on this one. Some clever contrasting riffs by the bass allows good harmony with the guitars, adding to the more grungy, post-punk sound of the track. The vocals and lyrics follow this theme and are less caged, and have a muddy feel to them.


‘Falling Down’ follows the darker themes explored in ‘Burn Your Idols’. The heavy guitars and drums mirror the restlessness of the lyrics sung by lead singer Chris Bridget: “3am and my mind won’t switch off”. Structurally, it is the simplest on the album as verse and chorus follow each other without interruption from quirky bridges or guitar solos.


The more upbeat ‘Be My Sunshine’ is my personal favourite. Its galloping rhythm provided by the drums and pining lyrics supplied by Bridget intertwines perfectly to create a rather sorrowful, emotional track. It provides some sonic variation and does away with the heavy effects and darker themes as acoustic guitars and a cute little piano sit just behind the vocal. 


This sonic shift is short-lived however as ‘Everything We’ve Ever Had (We’ve Had To Fight For)’ flips back to the now-familiar heavy, post-punk sound and lyrics. Thick guitars and ascending and descending guitar riffs make their return in this 3:30 minute track. ‘Replaced By Robots’ is a very punk-inspired cut. Sliding guitar riffs and hopping synth keys pair with some rather one-note, repetitive vocals. I can see the vision for it and why it has made the album, but it is sadly rather forgettable.


‘So Young’ comes in and lifts the mood instantly. A highly nostalgia-inducing track that speaks of an eventful, well-lived childhood, this bop will make even the stiffest person in the pub get up and have a little dance with a pint in hand. Both acoustic and electric guitar harmonize well together, as one provides rhythm, the other adds some beautiful upbeat embellishments that just enhance the tune further. This is one of the best songs on the album and is going to go down well when they play it live.


 The final track ‘I’ll Be Your Witness’ has a pendulum-like rhythm to its intro as the lyrics lazily swing from line to line: “I hope that you choke/on the words that you spoke”. There is a real sense of finishing as the track progresses, it starts off quite linear before it slowly starts to expand into a real anthem of a track. Guitars weep and increase in volume and tone and drums bang loudly as we near towards the end of the album. This is a truly fitting final track that encompasses the general sound of the album into one song.


The production on this album is exemplary, it keeps its grungy, post-punk feel whilst being clear enough to be listenable and understood. The drums are tight and consistent, and the guitars are rarely overbearing or too loud. The vocals are not overly tweaked, meaning they keep their raw feel to them. 


If this band sounds anything like the album when they play live, you are in for a real treat.


This is a stellar attempt at a debut album by a band who have a clear and driven sound. Well thought out both thematically and sonically, with lyrics that compel and excite, this album’s nostalgic sound is a true breath of fresh air. 

Dan Jones

@DanJonesNews @danjones_98

Image: Paul Husband

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