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Swings - "Sugarwater" | Album Review

swings cover.jpg

by Daniel Manning (@mandanning324)

Releasing two full albums in the span of a year is no easy task. Releasing two full albums that express artistic growth and maturation is no easier. On their second album of 2015, Sugarwater, Washington DC’s Swings manage to do just that. Their sound is more focused and refined, while still managing to expand in all the right places. Slightly autotuned vocals, shimmering keys and noodly guitars throughout manage to give Sugarwater a consistent tone and feel.

True to its name, the album sounds as if you were to take the songs found on the band’s previous full-length Detergent Hymns and throw them into a pool, letting them soak and reflect the rays of sunlight dancing across the surface. The songs flow back and forth, expanding and contracting, led by Dan Howard’s dynamic drumming and Jamie Finucane’s floating melodies. Finucane doesn’t allow himself to sit on one particular auto-tune tinged hook for too long, giving the songs a constant forward motion.

Subtle key lines spread throughout the album expand on the textures created by Finucane’s vocals and shimmering guitar parts, occasionally lending themselves towards melody, becoming central to the track for just a moment before falling back beneath the rest of the instrumentation. This seems to be the trend for most of the other instruments as well. They have their brief moment in the spotlight at the forefront of the song and then quickly retreat back into place amongst all the other interlocking pieces that tie the songs on Sugarwater together so nicely.