EP REVIEW: swim school – making sense of it all

swim school burst onto an alternative-rock platform in 2019 with a solid set of sound-defining singles from the offset. The brand new five-track EP making sense of it all from the Edinburgh four-piece is centred around frontwoman Alice Johnson’s self-acknowledged experiences and retrospective narratives of events that she has experienced in the last year. Cohesively connecting the tracks on swim school’s appropriately titled debut EP, making sense of it all, honesty soundtracks feelings across a spectrum of raw, positive and negative emotions.

Photo Credit: Rory Barnes

The Scots’ latest single prior to the release of the EP last Friday (20th August), anyway, sits perfectly into an ill-confident/realisation hybrid sonic of vocals processed into the depths of reverberation and echoes, and the repetitive line ‘you never noticed it anyway’ line during the chorus. Raw and relatable experiences characterise this EP, and other, explicit tracks off the debut EP from swim school hide the insecurities and negativity of emotions in the complex vocal production that masks Alice’s story. One of the brand-new tracks – everything you wanted – contrasts between an explicitly mellow addressal in low-end leads and flowing synth pads and an outburst of anger, shouted and gushing from every instrument and layer in reaction.

let me inside your head introduces the EP with Alice’s drowsily spoken vocals; slight ignorance to the situation is then contrastingly amplified within swim school’s electrifyingly strong breakdown into each chorus. 

Alice not only writes about her own experiences with these situations, but the reactions and experiences of others involved, “Each track on the EP is based on an event that I’ve experienced in the last year and the effect it had on my own mental state and also the mental state of everyone who was involved… There’s sad, happy and angry songs, each expressing how it feels to try and understand how you are feeling in hard situations”. Whether these experiences alternative to her own views are positive or not, swim school’s lyricism is unapologetically raw, unconcerned about anything else but expressing the true nature of every situation referenced in each track of making sense of it allAbout That Record were lucky enough to catch their debut English Festival performance at Latitude Festival this year, playing the intimate ‘Alcove’ stage early Friday afternoon; their performance carried as much weight in passion as the singles (and EP) do, if not more so.

swim school have proven themselves masters at perfecting the simple, to the extent where the combinations of guitar tones with synths and drums purily bridge the gap into a signficantly mature sound of musicianship that shows its development has come from years of friendship and practice, as well as understanding and commentating of each individual situation from the tracks from making sense of it all.

Listen to making sense of it all here.

Follow swim school on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Spotify and Apple Music.

Featured image: Rory Barnes

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