REVIEW: Can’t Swim – ‘Fail You Again’

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Can’t Swim aren’t just treading water in the scene, they’re making waves. Big waves, small waves; unpredictable moves in a heavily saturated scene. For a five-piece who have only been around for two years, the band are in constant movement. From releasing an EP in 2016 and their first full-length Fail You Again this week via Pure Noise Records, the group are on the climb to the top of their respective chart in a much shorter time than their counterparts (and friends) like Moose Blood, Better Off and Trash Boat. For a band who got signed to one of the biggest labels in the game, Can’t Swim are definitely ahead of the curve.

Right out of the gate, Fail You Again kicks in with “What’s The Big Idea?”, a post-punk ballad-like intro with no shortages of riffs and chords. The record as a whole holds pop punk cliches (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but for Can’t Swim, change is necessary. While the grungy, grating vocal tone of lead singer Chris LoPorto, the backing from the rest of the band provide well-balanced hooks and bridges. The single “We Won’t Sleep” holds, you guessed it, harmony filled bridges galore. Can’t Swim seem to make this their staple on the record. Down tempo tracks “Show Me”, “Molly’s Desk” and “Quitting” are a 180-flip from the rest of the record; they’re crooning, they’re filled with electronic components that don’t weigh down the record as a whole or steer away from their post-punk mantra. One of the most well-rounded songs on the record is “Friend”, a track about losing a loved one. Packed with melodies and mild switches in beat, the track stands out as one of the best along with “$50,000,000” and “What’s The Big Idea?”.

The first half of the record is high energy, but falls short in the second half where the tracks get drawn out and muddled. The switch in tone is popular with post-punk and for a debut album it’s still fresh. The turning point on Fail You Again has to be “Hey Amy”, LoPorto vocals changes from rugged to silvery and smooth; another example of their need for transition. If Can’t Swim want to disrupt the scene, they’re off to a great start. A record showcasing how to blend a tied-and-true list pop punk elements with modern grunge and moments of softness, Fail You Again is mature and well-balanced without getting boring.

Check out their video for “We Won’t Sleep” below:


Tour dates:
Mar 13 The Fuzebox Albany, NY
Mar 14 Waiting Room Buffalo, NY
Mar 15 WOODLAND TAVERN Columbus, OH
Mar 16 Hoosier Dome Indianapolis, IN
Mar 17 The Stache Grand Rapids, MI
Mar 18 Bottom Lounge Chicago, IL
Mar 19 Bottom Lounge Chicago, IL
Mar 21 Gabe’s Iowa City, IA
Mar 22 Sokol Underground Omaha, NE
Mar 23 Outland Ballroom Springfield, MO
Mar 24 89th Street Collective Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 25 Walter’s Downtown Houston, TX
Mar 26 So What?! Music Festival Grand Prairie, TX
Mar 28 The End Nashville, TN
Mar 29 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte, NC
Mar 30 Canal Club Richmond, VA
Mar 31 Rock & Roll Hotel Washington, DC
Apr 01 GameChangerWorld Freehold, NJ
Apr 02 Revolution Bar Amityville, NY
Apr 06 Club Academy Manchester, United Kingdom
Apr 07 Asylum Birmingham, United Kingdom
Apr 09 Riverside Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Apr 10 St. Luke’s Glasgow, United Kingdom
Apr 11 Stylus Leeds, United Kingdom
Apr 13 Thekla Bristol, United Kingdom
Apr 14 Epic Studios Norwich, United Kingdom
Apr 15 Engine Rooms Southampton, United Kingdom
Apr 16 Electric Ballroom London, United Kingdom

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