Can't Swim

Death Deserves A Name EP

Written by: TL on 18/03/2016 11:50:05

A new (pop)punk band on Pure Noise. A name that brings to mind drowning metaphors. A lyrical narrator tearing himself down, supposedly after some failed relationship. "It's all been done", as Can't Swim from New Jersey sing themselves on the title track of their debut EP "Death Deserves A Name". Yet as they open with the lead single "Your Clothes", that hardly matters: The bass signature instantly let's the listener know that something is plain wrong, and off you are into a vice grip on quiet/loud dynamics topped with cathartic howls reminiscent of Captain, We're Sinking and Off With Their Heads: "My conscience could burn.. A hole through my brain! A hole through my brain!"

"Your Clothes" is a song that has that simple, mythical sense of urgency that music fans go through piles and piles of bands looking for, and when you find it you know instantly that it's a classic for the ages. Here it prompts you to dive into an EP that finds Can't Swim in a style somewhere between the two bands mentioned as well as Apologies, I Have None, and more pop-punk, yet still contemplative and sadder acts like Transit and Man Overboard. And that makes for a highly potent mix of emo's bittersweetness and punk's crucial grit.

Across the EP's five songs the musicianship is deft and the production is pretty much ideal for the style. Moods are instantly established and maintained via smart interplay from the two guitars and lively backing from the rhythm section, while the 'pour it all out' style of vocals are cleverly contrasted with call/response patterns and varying senses of distance in their placement in the mix. And much to your satisfaction, it all builds up around some flawless hooks, multiple per song in fact. Take "Right Choice" for example, which has its claws in you all the way through: "You call me up on the phone, and you tell me you're leaving, what can I take to stop from feeling? I know I'm not the right choice! I gave you nothing that you wanted! I gave you nothing that you wanted!"

As you can see, and as mentioned, the rhetorics of heartbreak are not exactly reinvented on "Death Deserves The Name", yet that also feels like the only thing you could reasonably point to as an area that, with some improvement, could lift the whole thing up to an even higher notch. Yet the music that's built up around the words does credit to the genres it stands of the shoulders of and is as good, purging, depression-rock should be: Powerful, dramatic and rough at the edges. And with it, Can't Swim have marked themselves as a band that suddenly already have some big expectations to live up to, come time for their debut album.


Download: Your Clothes, Death Deserves A Name, Right Choice
For The Fans Of: Captain, We're Sinking; Off With Their Heads; Transit; Man Overboard; Apologies, I Have None

Release date 26.02.2016
Pure Noise

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