What can be said of an album that begins expressing feelings that prompt a suicide in the song “Surreal,” and goes on to chronicle abuse in “It’s So Perfect”? Obviously, this one contains more than pretty love songs. Swimmer take their name from the mildly psychedelic Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer , based on a story by John Cheever. They come out of the fiercely competitive New York band scene. It’s easy to see why this band set itself apart form the crowd in just two years as a unit. Guitarist/vocalist Anday McCarron moved to NYC two years ago, and formed Swimmer with guitarist Jeff Thall, bassist James Elliot, and drummer Chad Royce. The album’s produced by McCarron and Dave Jerden (Jane’s Addiction). This band sounds like the flirtation with loss of control that symbolizes modern society.
From tender crooning falsettos to harsh sneering put-downs, McCarron uses the full range of his amazing voice to express unusual depth of feeling. The lyrics range from the sublime “Think you’re demented/In your messed up head/Think your brain’s deserted/And all your thoughts are dead…” to the twisted “…What’s the matter now?” “You’re not too pretty today/You’re playing Jesus but you don’t know how/I guess you’re better being that way.” From the soft sweet tempo of “Spaced Out Hat” to the near-neo-grunge-metal thrash of “Dirty Word” this band displays a range to equal McCarron’s vocal versatility. The music and lyrics seem to bring recurrent references to love, death, suicide, Jesus, and nervous breakdown, into melodic distorted harmonies that jar one from the everyday. When McCarron refers to his girlfriend as “…my little whore/You’re my best friend…You’re God’s little baby,” the caustic humor comes out full force.
This new band deserves notice, and it would be very surprising if they didn’t get it. As McCarron sings on “Halo,” “…if I wait/It won’t get better anymore.” One of the sweeter songs on the CD, this ballad nevertheless has teeth: McCarron sings, “Tell them everything’s been bought/Maybe not.”