Swim Deep – ‘Mothers’

Brummie dreamers expand their horizons on acid-drenched second album

In two years, Swim Deep have gone from indie pop sweethearts to sounding like they’ve spent a lot of time tripping out of their minds. Second album ‘Mothers’ (an ode to “the creators of the universe”, according to frontman Austin Williams) is a reinvention and an exercise in pushing boundaries to limitless new levels.

There are bridges to their old sound in the pop pizzazz of ‘Namaste’ and ‘To My Brother”s huge hooks, but elsewhere the focus is on the shock of the new. ‘Heavenly Moment’ is meandering psych loveliness, all crystalline synths and Williams’ serene falsetto, and ‘Forever Spaceman’ is a zero gravity piece of playfulness, frog-like backing vocals subtly croaking “mayday” as the song enters its second half like a rocket breaking through the sound barrier into space. There are sci-fi tinges like this throughout the record, inspired by the likes of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. On ‘Grand Affection’, it manifests itself in Cavan McCarthy’s deep bassline colliding with James Balmont’s keys, while the awestruck ‘Imagination’ sounds like a slow and steady voyage through the solar system, scattered with twinkling noises.

Across the whole record, there’s a kind of galactic atmosphere that gives everything an spacey edge. Maddest of all though is closing track ‘Fueiho Boogie’, an eight-and-a-half minute freakout that both tackles the recently lifted Fueiho law that banned dancing in clubs in Japan and sees Swim Deep riding a surge of acid house euphoria. It’s easily the best, most mind-bogglingly weird thing they’ve ever done. Out of this world.