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Album review

Wild Swim

Still in their late teens, Wild Swim are the latest alternative five piece hoping to crack the big time. Formed in school at the tender age of thirteen, the band have built up a strong grassroots following around their native Oxford, hailing the praises of many for their famed live performances.

Their debut single, produced by New Order and Suede supremo Steve Osborne, marks a mainstream introduction for the group. ‘Echo’ will serve as the precursor to a brand new album and acts as a front of shop window dressing for the band and their sound.

Very much bracketed in the art rock, indie vein, ‘Echo’ is the usual mix of morose lyrics, haunting guitar and the, pardon the expression, echoing resonance that has come to be expected of a group of this kind. Front man Richard Sansom’s vocals have a depth and passion much beyond his years. However, it all feels a little hackneyed and done to death.

Undeniably talented in terms of songwriting and execution, the naivety of the group comes to the fore in the originality stakes. Likening themselves to Kid A-era Radiohead, The XX and a young Tears For Fears does nothing to help their cause. Indeed, these references serve only to highlight just how big and gaping the differences in execution and creative originality Wild Swim have with their heroes.

‘Echo’ is by no means a bad effort. The accompanying release, ‘Bright Eyes’, is more of the same, maudlin and atmospheric. This is indie and art rock by the numbers by a band who can barely remember Brit Pop let alone the creative movements and stylistic cultures that made their producer one of the best in the business.

Young minds, fresh ideas may be the time and tested attitude towards the ever-changing face of the music industry. However, when the young minds do little but regurgitate old ideas, the whole thing falls flat on its face.

Ambitious and undeniably talented, Wild Swim should not have the blame of their culture and style’s creative misgivings laid at their feet. They are, after all, merely the latest in a long and no doubt extending line of musicians trying to be heard and make a quick quid.
In all ‘Echo’ is a bog-standard indie number. Nothing more. It still outshines anything by that other teenage, all male five piece currently doing their rounds. What are they called, One Direction?

By Jonathan Whitelaw

Jonathan Whitelaw writes about music because he isn't good at playing it. For his musings and book plugs follow him on twitter: @JDWhitelaw13

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