The Swimmers vault into the upper half of national radio charts with new album – press raves aplenty!

The Swimmers vault into the upper half of national radio charts with new album – press raves aplenty!

The Swimmers have just released their second album People Are Soft, and with it rings the sound of the band reinventing itself. In the past week, the album has jumped over a 100 places to land at #76 on the CMJ College Radio Top 200.!Following the success of 2008’s Fighting Trees-The Swimmers’ first release on MAD Dragon, which garnered rave reviews from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Magnet, The Tripwire and Time Out Chicago-Steve and Krista Yutzy-Burkey, Scott French and Rick Sieber decided to start fresh by building a home studio from the ground up and recording a new album entirely on their own. The hard-won results feature intensely personal songwriting couched in distorted synthesizer hooks, crushing electric guitars and dark reverb swells. Initial press reaction has been excellent as you can see in the sampling given below.

Pop, in all its unadulterated and joyfully melodic glory, gets a lousy rap. Kids with TV shows are saddled with the pop moniker. So are tuneless elders when they write an actual hook. Classic pop practitioners a la Weezer, Raspberries, XTC, and the Beatles – as inventive as they are harmony-driven – are hard to find.

Songwriting lead singer Steve Yutzy-Burkey of the Swimmers had a slightly high, nearly nasal voice. It’s a canvas onto which he can paint a thousand slight nuances – the discontent of “Drug Party,” the jitter of “Nervous Wreck.” When wife/keyboardist Krista Yutzy-Burkey, Scott French, and Rick Sieber weren’t beside him crafting a group lead vocal (“A Hundred Hearts”), they harmonized rhapsodically through the blipping keyboard and droning guitars of “Shelter.” As catchy as their melodies were (you could hardly stop from singing the new songs), the Swimmers’ strong suit was couching such tunefulness in memorable arrangements, dense rhythmic aplomb, and quirky ambience.A.D. Amorosi/Philadelphia Inquirer 11/9

The Swimmers touch a bunch of bases on the slightly alternative pop/rock map on their second album, People Are Soft. “Shelter” almost sounds like a more benign and poppy Joy Division, but it’s not too typical of their sound, though some of the other tracks tend toward the slightly somber and synth-oriented. But their sound also takes in fuzzy grunge-cum-power pop (“Drug Party”), wistful dreamy ruminating (“What This World Is Coming To”), and some occasional rises to more memorable enigmatic moodiness, like “Dresses Don’t Fit.” Overall it’s less indebted to ’60s and ’70s rock than their debut, Fighting Trees… Richie Unterberger/

Philadelphia quartet the Swimmers celebrate the release of their tremendous new album People Are Soft-the band’s second on Drexel’s MAD Dragon Records-which you’ll get for free if you picked up advance tickets for this gig. Pretty sweet deal, because People Are Soft is an irresistible indie-pop/nü-wave platter, with synthesizers both buzzy and billowy joining up with sturdy beats, the occasional bite of guitar, and charismatic guy-girl vocals in a manner that occasionally feels like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for a new generation of romantic misfits that like to dance once in a while. With the Capitol Years. Michael Alan Goldberg/Philadelphia Weekly 11/4

Though the lead singer (in the liner, no credits are attributed to any members) sounds very much like Ray Davies, this groups’ music is not very Kinksy but instead a more futuristic pop sound with pronounced rock edges, dreamlike but with borders and beats. The group issued a debut, this is their second release, but decided to completely reinvent their sound while building a recording studio from the ground up, after workaday employment repairing massive church organs and majoring in musical performance in college. Music is what they live.

Named after a John Cheever short story, The Swimmers are alternatingly dense and airy, infused with electronica, staggered rhythms, skyblown choruses, and compositional brightness despite the often harshly pleasant guitar attacks. There’s a large element of innocence and wonder scattered throughout the CD, not to mention clever arrangements counterpointed by simple lines within lines within lines. A John Foxx episode occurs here, some Teardrop Explodes there, a shred of Big Country, some Utopia, Ultravox, and a number of even older influences: touches of Bowie and Bolan.

Save Me is a particularly attractive cut. I doubt it would make mainstream air but should prove virally infectious to alt stations (ya listening, Nik Harcourt?), a more cosmic version of the marvelous Guggenheim Grotto after they’d had some coaching in percussives and emphasis. The follower, Nervous Wreck, is equally lofty, building and building until a seductive cloud diorama is achieved, ringing with harmonics. The group’s 2008 debut release was warmly received by critics, and I can’t see how the inky brethren will fail to eat this one up. There’s just too much here not to. Mark Tucker/ 11/2

. I listened to their new album, People Are Soft a couple of times and I found myself dancing and singing their music when no music was actually playing. The Swimmers had gotten themselves stuck in my head. I was hooked.

What’s so great about their debut album, People Are Soft? The hooks, the drums, and the indifference. The hooks get their music stuck in your head, the drums and guitar make you do the indie rock dance, and the indifference takes you back to the 90s.

Ah, the 90s. It was a simpler time. The music on the radio didn’t suck, the United States wasn’t embroiled in any quagmirely wars, and indie rock music was just that. This was pre-mash-up, pre-electro dash, pre-fusion.

The Swimmers aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. They’re just making some damn good music; music with memorable hooks, relatable lyrics, and jammable music. This is not to say that People Are Soft is an entirely analogue album. There are some pretty reverb-heavy tracks, but they fall pretty much well in line with all the reverb-heavy rock tracks that came before them.

At just over a half-hour in length, the songs that make up People Are Soft are short, tight and repetitive, but not in an overly-annoying way. Not all songs are created equally though. The top portion of the album is loaded with great tracks – “A Hundred Hearts,” “Give Me the Sun” and “Save Me (From the Brightness)” are poperiffic favorites. Songs like “Anything Together” and “Try to Settle In” are forgettable.

You could, if you were trying to save a dollar, buy the first 8 tracks and not miss anything from the remaining three. But it’s a dollar we’re talking about here, and it’s worth a lot less than it was in the 90s. So go ahead, buy the whole thing. You’ll appreciate the genuine garage band quality of The Swimmers and the fact that they take you back to an earlier, simpler time. Lauren Doyle/ 11/3

Philadelphia band The Swimmers release their sophomore album, People Are Soft, this week on Mad Dragon Records. This propulsive affair has been prepared with synthesizers, guitars, effects, and appropriate song craft to ensure a darkening melodic glow. Opener “Shelter,” cracks the sonic egg with movement and sound evoking New Order’s spirited anthem, “Age Of Consent” on intro. The rest goes down well. Enjoy the ticking punch of “What This World Is Coming To,” fulfilled by swirling colored synth and resulting hook. David Meiggs/ParasitesAnd Sycophants 11/3

Who are The Swimmers that they should come and gather up my interest as if they knew the hallways of my mind like familiar ghosts? On their self-released album, People Are Soft, there is a sweet collection of Pop that brings to mind eras gone past. Even so, there is a solid foot in this era of music as well. That delivers a fine batch of music that will entertain the older generation AND the younger set.

There is a hint of Coldplay all tangled up in ‘flashback’ music. With tunes like “What This World is Coming To,” and the cool “Give Me The Sun” (parts The Angels (’60s), and The Go-Go’s (’80s), you start to seriously engage.

Eventually, you get some super cool music with their psychedelic “Save Me (From the Brightness),” “Nervous Wreck,” and “To the Bells”, all with a genuine post-punk Pop-styled authenticity.

Simply, you’re going to find much to like about The Swimmers’ second album, People Are Soft. There is no good one track for download as they all warrant your attention. Like me, you’re likely to go hunting for their first album.

Solid. Matt Rowe/ 11/6

Not unlike some of the Idol Records bands like Black Tie Dynasty, these folks plumb the post-punk past of Echo and the Bunnymen and Ultravox with distilled, unfettered aplomb, producing an easygoing and smart, textured and titillating pop music for a complicated age of mixed genre conundrums. That’s exactly what bears down my brain when I hear the memorable “Shelter,” while the dance-floor diatribe “A Hundred Hearts” makes the skinny jeans go round and round. The word play runs thick and weaved too: a hundred hearts, or a hundred people trying to grab your heart, or broken hands and a lion’s mouth. The artful agility feels natural enough: there’s zest, not tiredness and cliché. “Drug Party” busts out the Lou Reed fuzz-blaster and hi-pitched Superchunk vocal vortex: “Tell me I’m all right sister . I can settle down into my skin.” For some reason, this powerful, pumped-out tune instantly makes me feel like I am in the middle of a Spike Jonze film, not knowing while I feel propulsive. It’s tasty stuff that feels both naïve and nebulous. Then the syncopated ghost-whisper romantic white moon tuneage of “What This World Is Coming To” floats by in a world maybe made by Modest Mouse. It has all the right space-out bliss and beatitude, pauses and punch, and quirk and catchiness. For new wave triggers, feel the rush of hand-clap hoedown “Give Me the Sun,” like a Kim Wilde song disinterred and re-animated by neon kids with a knack for creative calamity. I feel the pink sunglasses glowing in the beat box night, the leg warmers fidgeting as skinny ties twist. For more mellow modernity, the soft elbows of “Save Me (From the Brightness)” push into a cocoon of soft careening voices, solitary claps, and consistent and compelling drum patter as the story unfolds about standing on the edge of the park and cemetery. A bit histrionic and emo on the inside, pure pop artifice and angst on the outside too – sweet melancholy for the murmuring metrosexual seekers. The lights go down, shadows creep round, films swim in his head, and sleep is a non-starter in “Nervous Wreck,” which retains the playfulness and sophistication that earmarks the rest as well. “To the Bells” slams a bit harder on the downbeat and dances a bit cooler too, in darker shades; perhaps it’s that plumbing bass line, or the dramatic bridge with the hollow noise havoc. Then they seem to channel early New Order on the slightly ominous “Anything Together,” with images rife with flickering highways, tossed aside kids, and colliding hearts. It feels like a teen movie schema torn from the pages of John Hughes with deft and uncalculated lines like “We paint ourselves with pills.” . This album is for the young lover in you with one hand on the control boards of sorrow and the other grasping a fistful of poptronics. David Ensminger/ 10/24

At first listen, Philly’s The Swimmers’ new record entitled People Are Soft sounds like just another shoegaze influenced indie album à la Broken Social Scene. However, it goes so far beyond that.

Unlike Broken Social Scene, the album sounds simple. There aren’t layers upon layers of sound to sort out and comprehend. From the second the opening track begins to the album’s close you can’t help but feel like you just understand what’s going on, regardless of if you actually do.

The album opens up rather mildly, with tracks like “Shelter” and “Drug Party” that are up-tempo, but still feel rather safe. Later on in the album you start to hear a sound that could best be described as Arcade Fire meets The Breeders. It’s a little jarring at first, but the disjointed songs play well against the smooth tracks to create a great sense of balance on this record.

The last track, entitled “Try To Settle In,” closes the record with an odd, distorted, almost synth jam that finalizes the overall sound quite well.

This is definitely one of the better local releases this year. Coming off of Drexel’s student-run label Mad Dragon Records , People Are Soft creates a sound that this town is not typically known for, which overall makes it a quite refreshing release.

Many Philly students are already down with The Swimmers. This past Friday, Oct. 2, WQHS (Penn’s student radio station) hosted the band as its first show of the season at The Marvelous Records (208 S 40th St). Chris Banks/Campus Philly 10/21

We were huge, huge fans of Fighting Trees, the debut album from The Swimmers. So much so that we wondered how the band could possibly outdo themselves with a follow-up. .. There are certainly some tracks that we will be spinning totally into the ground (“Shelter,” “To The Bells,” “Dresses Don’t Fit”)… Don Seven/ October

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