SWIMMING TAPES – OSLO, Hackney. 10th April 2019

It’s been a long Brexity winter here in London, but with the offer of a 6-month delay to any withdrawal firmly on the table on Wednesday; it finally felt like time to get in to spring/summer 2019.

No band is better suited in assisting with this task than the shimmering, sunny sounds of the mostly Irish-born, but London-based, Swimming Tapes.  They played to a full, chatty but happy, Oslo crowd in Hackney on Wednesday night. Swimming Tapes’ songs don’t so much accelerate over a cliffs-edge, as keep the roof down on the convertible as it maintains a comfy 80kmph on a sunlit open coast road.

Helping them fill out this night of reverb drenched melodies is Blackaby and current tour buddies from Brighton, Breathe Panel. While both impress, things move up another level once the quintet hit the stage. Not that you would notice, they groove rather than move beneath their respective spotlights.

But the devil is in the detail, and it’s all there. From the lush two and three part vocal harmonies, guitarmonies, intermingling solos and more sunshine than you can shake an ice-lolly stick at. Think Real Estate meets Dublin’s Postcard Versions.  Andrew Price’s beat stays low and measured while Paddy Conn’s bass playing shows tremendous restraint, both allowing Louis Price and Robbie Reid’s vocal and guitar melodies to soar. Their one non-singing guitarist, Jason Hawthorne, applies the only real grit, and even that’s peppered in chorus and reverb. This is the sound of summer.

The current couplet of new singles Passing Ships and Pyrenees are so tasteful they feel like a natural accompaniment to the beer, while several old favourites such as Cameos, Tides and Souvenirs from their similarly titled 2017 EP ‘Souvenir ‘ make welcome appearances.  If you’re still struggling to imagine the pure laid back joy of these songs, then there is the fact they beautifully covered The La’s There She Goes with such conviction that it would be easy to believe it it may have been mimed. This much should see fit that you make room in your diary to catch Swimming Tapes.  One can only suspect they will be playing much bigger venues once their debut album ‘Morningside’ comes out in May.

Read our recent interview with Swimming Tapes here.