The First

Swimming With Sharks

Written by: TL on 17/08/2011 00:20:49

King's Lynn, UK based quintet The First is a band I decided to check out on record after enjoying their recent performance at Hevy Music Festival (the feature on which should be imminent, if PP's word is to be trusted). The band is a young one, whose ten-track "Swimming With Sharks" is so far the only full length to their name. Their sound is an energetic sort of no-frills party-rock, which aligns closely with those of The Blackout and Yashin, yet with the important(?) difference that the typical post-hardcore screams are virtually nowhere to be heard.

This leaves The First to gain your attention with clean singing, bright yet crunchy guitars and a consistent knack for writing rather shamelessly catchy choruses. All of the first three tracks proper - "Kicks", "Sit Tight" and "The Hunt" - combine to prove as much, each offering its own refrain which is easily remembered even after a single listen.

As we cross the halfway mark however, the catchyness gradually starts to feel less potent. Likely this is more due to lack of variety, as opposed to sliding songwriting, because the songs all seem cool when you pay attention to them, but with each almost invariably re-interpreting the same speedy, groovy approach, it inevitably becomes harder to keep doing so. It takes until the end for me at least, before my interest is revived by "My Intentions Are Good", which benefits from the vocal contribution of Deaf Havana's James Veck Gilodi, and the closing title track, which revisits the refrain from "The Hunt".

Overall, "Swimming With Sharks" seems a fairly transparent record. It shows The First's charming, bouncy personality and knack for catchy choruses, yet it shows their shortcomings just as clearly: Namely that their metaphorical musical pond is among the shallower ones around, and that it's hard to put a finger on something The First has going for them that will set them apart from contemporaries. It's the kind of record which should get the band some recognition, as well as a likely support slot from the likes of The Blackout, but if The First hope to step out of such a band's shadow, they need to find ways to step their game up on future records.


Download: Kicks, Sit Tight, Swimming With Sharks
For The Fans Of: The Blackout, Yashin, Lostprophets

Release Date 01.11.2010
Small Town Records

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