Dublin three-piece Swords have been around for a lot longer than is suggested by the fact that ‘Lions & Gold’ is their debut album. Formed in 2010, it’s only in the last six months that they’ve broken through the recognition barrier with the first single from the album, All The Boys, receiving copious amounts of airplay of late.
Swords’ influences are evident from the off with opener Myopic displaying clear similarities to the output of oft-championed Irish acts including Fight Like Apes and Ham Sandwich whilst there’s a tinge of Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrown into the mixing pot too. Buildings is a far more upbeat take on the same influences. Whilst not as melodically polished as their peers, where Swords do shine is in their lyrical content. It’s carefully and cleverly crafted to create a collection of vivid images in the listener’s mind. The sumptuous piano-led Hips takes the pace down a notch allowing Diane Anglim’s vociferous vocals come to the fore.
It’s at this juncture that we delve into past and potential singles territory. The aforementioned All The Boys is followed closely by the hauntingly beautiful The Menace. Anglim’s vocals once again are the focal point of the song as they are pierced by high pitched piano strokes and crashing cymbals. Title track Lions & Gold is the latest single to be taken from the album and sees Anglim delve into the realms of Florence Welch as she croons in despair “This torrid love we share / This torrid love affair.” Idyllic electropop comes in the form of Cross Beat before the galloping closing track Nine Nights ensures you hit the re-play button to start the experience all over again.
Swords may not have the infectious energy of Fight Like Apes or Ham Sandwich but their carefully crafted lyrics and the vocals of Diane Anglim, of which there aren’t nearly enough superlatives to describe, mean that with time, Swords have the potential to be in and amongst the cream of the crop of Irish acts.