Three notes into the opening song, “It’s Time They Knew,” off their debut release, Fighting Trees, The Swimmers have already sucked you into their irresistible brand of smart indie-pop. What follows is 41 minutes and 40 seconds of gorgeously crafted, rocking pop-tunes that bounce along with abandon, but still maintain a restrained dignity that serves to construct the sonic landscape of 12 instantly catchy songs that just won’t let go.
Fighting Trees is powered by lead singer/guitarist Steve Yutzy-Burkey’s elusive, accessible lyrics. From returning to a childhood home only to find it (or you) have changed on “Heaven,” to the idea of loneliness on “All the New Sounds,” to “Miles From our Fears,” which explores our fear of the unknown, each song deals with a universal emotion that everyone can find in themselves. Despite such deep, introspective lyrics that may cause us all to pause for minute, they are delivered with such upbeat, brilliant music, you can’t help but stick around and listen. Instead of leaving you with a feeling of dread, they impart with a sense of satisfaction.
The Swimmers have long been part of Philadelphia’s burgeoning indie-rock scene (Dr. Dog, Man-Man, The Extraordinaires, Matt Pond PA), and last year, when a finished copy of Fighting Trees was leaked to the locally based influential radio station WXPN, it was declared “the best record not released in 2007.” Thankfully it is released now, and it can just be simply described as one of the best records released in 2008.
Fighting Trees is out now on Mad Dragon Records.