Three-piece Cold Water Swimmers present their debut record, Holiday At The Secret Lake and if this was a holiday there would be a lot of dark clouds.
Sporadically put together over three years, these ten tracks encompass classic post-punk sounds with a smidge of Britpop and early 2000’s indie rock. It has a strong The Fall vibe to it and the Manchester group provides lots of punchy chords and catchy vocals. Despite there being three years between some of these tracks, they come together so well to create a brilliant classic post-punk record.
The opening track to the record, Breaking Hearts draws us in with slowly picked guitars that have vibrant tones. Progressive indie drumming picks up the tempo and gallops into an upbeat rhythm. The vocals melt nicely into the track like a 90s Britpop tune. Even in the chorus, Cold Water Swimmers keep a steady post-punk rhythm with the vocals becoming more natural and separate from the instrumentation with added layers.
Love Is Insane has lashings of The Fall with lower negative-esc vocals. The galloping rhythms continue with bursts of anticipated pre-choruses and harmonsied vocals. This sounds like a dated record and it’s hard to believe it’s brand new. It has classic drum and bass orientated verses with bursts of gritty guitar chords. All the makings of a classic post punk outfit. The repetitiveness of the track’s title will stay in your head long after it’s finished.
Transcending into Summer Breeze, the guitars play off each other so elegantly with mystical leads dancing around thick chugging. Summer Breeze bursts back and forth from guitar-heavy chorus singing moments to chugging breaks. It’s a much more gritty idea in comparison to their influences.
Burn Your Idols, like in previous tracks presents you with ascending and descending guitar riffs, creating a sense of negativity and the low vocals have a punk touch to them. It’s a track with teeth and has a concept that radiates punk. The bass tones add an exciting sound we’ve not heard so far and the cleaner vocals have a cockiness to them that isn’t taught but is rock and roll.
Falling Apart is the most accessible track so far on the record, and is more straightforward in its patterns of big choruses and driving guitar riffs. The guitars really make you excited for what’s coming next and I’m disappointed when the track ends so suddenly.
Be My Sunshine is a dainty acoustic piece with cute piano. It’s a sweet break from the gritty guitars we’ve had before. It’s cute for a post-punk band and the themes of this track are uplifting in comparison to what we’ve just heard. What’s noticeable so far is the timing of the tracks being between three to three and a half minutes. Cold Water Swimmers have crafted a comfortable listening time whilst still filling their tracks with variety and mellow vibes.
Everything We’ve Ever Had (We’ve Had To Fight For) has thick and heavy guitars and the vocals protrude confidently. It’s great to hear the drums so clearly here with the snare sounding tight. Replaced By Robots is a punk-heavy track with guitars focusing on that upper-bridge pick up giving us a dirty and yet clean sound. The additional female vocals make the band sound more punk and more audience-appealing.
So Young’s fuzzy and fast guitars are accompanied by delightful chimes from the cymbals. The whole track gives me a rush and a feeling of nostalgia.
I’ll Be Your Witness concludes this interesting album with a slow bass guitar introduction. It gradually builds up and reminds us we’re at the end so the band is going out with dreaded feelings on one of the longest tracks on the record. The vocals might just be their best performed here as they sound more vibrant. It’s a raucous conclusion with the guitar notes ringing out. The song rings out repeating its title for a very confident finish.
All in all, Cold Water Swimmers have injected themselves with everything classic post-punk had to offer and regurgitated out something much more fitting to modern day listeners. It has edge, it has class and it has a lot of nerve to give us. This is a band that are doing something different from today’s other big post-punk names and I welcome them with open arms.