Indie Mainstays Enthrall When Touring Third Album
Swim Deep are back. A new-look line-up, a new album, and a bunch of tour dates, stopping in Southampton for the first time in a few years.
First up on the night are local lads FLOWVERS, who have a touch of Peace about them, a sort of post-punk cum baggy sound that’s reminiscent of Swim Deep’s mates’ earlier material. Rising indie star Phoebe Green is next up, joining Swim Deep on this UK excursion. She also impresses, ‘Easy Peeler’ being a particular highlight.
Three albums in, and Swim Deep haven’t lost what makes them special. The line-up may be slightly rejigged, but they’re still the same Birmingham cult heroes. They’re a good fit for The Loft, an intimate venue in which everyone is tightly packed. ‘Are you ready to party?’ frontman Austin Williams asks the venue. The answer is quite clearly a resounding ‘yes’.
The band’s 2013 debut Where the Heaven Are We? remains a modern indie staple, and it’s no surprise to see ‘Francisco’ and ‘Honey’ kick off the set. Complete with tambourine, it’s a dream pop party. ‘To My Brother’ follows – it might not carry the same weight as the preceding tracks in terms of nostalgia, but showcases their clear live prowess.
Swim Deep’s latest album Emerald Classics might not have been out for long, but every song gets an overwhelming reception from their south coast fans. As the band say themselves after one such track: ‘That’s the first time people have sung that song back to us’. It’s as if the new material has been out for years.
There’s an absence of early tracks for a while, but then the band tease ‘The Sea’. The crowd can sense the impending trip down memory lane, and let Swim Deep know that they’re 100% here for it. Later, ‘Fueiho Boogie’ doesn’t lose any of its groove when played live, relentlessly funky and seemingly-never ending.
Of course, no Swim Deep show is complete without ‘She Changes the Weather’. It forms part of a three-track encore. ‘The best night of the tour by far – I love you, Southampton’ declares Williams, clearly appreciative of the audience. ‘King City’ is the final track, and the room is swaying along. For a moment, it’s the mid-2010s again and everything feels a little less heavy.
‘I’m a music and culture journalist currently based in the West Midlands. Always on the lookout for up-and-coming artists but my favourite bands include IDLES and Arctic Monkeys. Probably last seen at a gig.