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Album Review: Can’t Swim - 'This Too Won’t Pass'

6 November 2018 | 10:56 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Can’t Swim strike gold in new waters.

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Since their inception and debut EP in 2016, there has always been something special about Can’t Swim. From their beginnings, they’ve always offered a deeper, better take than most others with their own blendings of emo and pop-punk; the kind that always made for a highly memorable sound. By releasing new music at the speed of lightning, they’ve managed to build a large fanbase in the extremely short time frame of only two years. When last month's single 'My Queen' hit the interwebs, their fans immediately took notice of a slightly changed sound from their previous effort. This expansion continues right on to the rest of their new LP, 'This Too Won't Pass'. So it begs the question, did they pull it off for their newest record? I absolutely think that they did!

To put it simply, 'This Too Won't Pass' is definitely Can’t Swim’s greatest work. It's more experimental than anything they’ve done so far, and the big risk of trying out new things has paid off the group. As it all shows in the end results; the actual songs. This is especially evident on 'Sometimes You Meet The Right People At The Wrong Times' which blends a Spanish-esque musical tone in with Can’t Swim’s traditional, honest and angsty pop-punk flavour. The track also features a gang vocal sung chorus, which is executed perfectly in every sense of the word. The addicting guitar riffs, the song's brisk energy, and that slapping breakdown shape this track to be one of the best cuts on the album and a new staple for Can't Swim overall.

Something else Can’t Swim have tried on this album is increasing the frequency of harsh vocals utilised, despite the instruments being toned down and melodic. The contrast works superbly well on driving tracks like 'What Have We Done' with its exploding screamed bridge right before the climax of the song. Cuts like this show-off that the band's songwriting - both the original ideas and the following execution of said ideas - has grown so strongly, so quickly. These guys are a real cut above the pack!

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'This Too Won't Pass' as whole steps deeper into the world of emo and alt-rock than ever before, being noticeably less poppy than their previous releases. The main highlight for me is 'Not The Way It Was', which showcases a faster, almost-hardcore style tempo with a whirlwind of clean and distorted riffs being fired out left, right and centre. Despite the track's high energy, the song has a gloomy chorus that redirects the whole pacing of the song, but in all the right ways. And this is one of the many brilliant things about this record: Can't Swim upheave a track's original set-up and pacing in the blink of an eye without it ever feeling forced. Always making sure that you have no idea what’s around the next corner; keeping you fully engaged. Still, at times, the previous style of older Can’t Swim songs shimmer through to create a nice nostalgic tone sure to please any and all older fans. 'Daggers' being a great example of this, with its poppy choruses and upbeat tempo surging through.

The lyricism from vocalist Chris Loporto has also increased tenfold, with tracks like closer 'Winter Of Cicada' painting powerful feelings and images of bitter regret and enveloping sadness. “So dress me head to toe, prepare me for the cold/The longest winter yet, forever in regret”, Chris heavily belts in the concluding line of the album, with just as much biting passion as you'd expect. 'This Too Won't Pass' carries an overarching lyrical theme of "evil"; of dwelling over the mistakes and emotions of ourselves and others; of failed relationships and the personal menace that comes from these frustrations; all embodied by the six-eyed, horned Yōkai that appears right on this album's front cover. This is especially apparent on tracks like 'My Queen' which features threatening lines like “I hope to god you’re haunted by this too”.

Lyrically and musically, this new album excels and shines above the past works of Can’t Swim. As Can’t Swim have truly dipped their toes into new waters with this 'This Too Won't Pass', striking solid gold in the process. It’s not often that I come across an experimental album that accomplished everything that it set out to be, but I truly believe that 'This Too Won't Pass' did exactly that. This band has mastered their style of songwriting and created a little niche for themselves separate from the rest of the alternative and pop-punk scenes right now. In fact, a record like 'This Too Won't Pass' is the kind of well-crafted, honest, and special record that reminds us all why we loved and cared for these styles of music in the first damn place.

01. What Have We Done

02. My Queen

03. sometimes you meet the right people at the wrong times

04. Hell In A Handbasket

05. Congratulations, Christopher Hodge

06. Malicious 444

07. Not The Way It Was

08. Amnesia 666

09. Daggers

10. Winter of Cicada

'This Too Won't Pass' is out November 16th via Pure Noise Records.