Swim School – ‘Making Sense Of It All’ EP review

Edinburgh-based four-piece Swim School share their debut EP ‘Making Sense of it All’ on Friday 20 August. The five songs are all deeply personal to frontwoman Alice Johnson, who says: ‘Each track on the EP is based on an event that I’ve experienced in the last year and the effect it had on my own mental state and also the mental state of everyone who was involved. The title ‘Making Sense of It All’ is the perfect way to express the common feeling that runs throughout the EP. There are sad, happy and angry songs, each expressing how it feels to try and understand how you are feeling in hard situations.’

A combination of grunge-tinged guitar and feedback signals the start of ‘Let Me Inside Your Head’, a song that soon morphs into something more tribal with scattergun, stop-start moments and gang vocals delivering its title with increasing levels of urgency. ‘Anyway’ follows with more of a shoegaze sound and honest talk about emotions and feelings before bursting into something more melodic and kaleidoscopic. ‘Everything You Wanted’ again has a quieter, more dream-pop-led opening as Alice talks about someone who is slowly destroying themselves as they let darkness take over – and how this all seemed so sadly inevitable: ‘You took your time to see this change’; ‘It’s everything you wanted’.

‘See Red’ is packed with angular post-punk riffs and cathartic talk of shaking off heartbreak after ‘All those years messing with my head’. You feel the defiance and enthusiasm running through Alice’s body as she tells the subject ‘Now it’s clear why I should keep my enemies near’. ‘Outside’ closes the EP with woozy and instantly hummable power-pop hooks and an invitation to ‘Come outside, free your mind, leave it all behind’…

From the fragilities of mental health to the ever-changing natures of relationships and sacrifice, this is an EP that finds Swim School soaring.

Live Dates:
5th August – Night & Day, Mancheste
8th August – Fringe By The Sea, Edinburgh
21st August – King Tuts, Glasgow
26th August – The Bodega, Nottingham
30th August – All Points East, London
16th September – Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh
9th October – Twisterella, Middlesborough

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