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20 Watts Reviews The Swimmers’ People Are Soft by Irina Dvalidze
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20 Watts Reviews The Swimmers’ People Are Soft

PREVIEW: VISIT The Swimmers MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 15/20

The contemporary music scene is full of one-album phenomena; countless bands produce spectacular debut albums but fail to follow up with a credible sophomore creation that could cement them as solid and active musicians. Fortunately for us, The Swimmers are far too dedicated to fall under that category.

After the success of 2008 debut Fighting Trees, the Philadelphia quartet has been way off the radar. Finally though, they have re-emerged with People Are Soft. However The Swimmers are not making a “comeback” in just any old way. Rather, it’s in their very own home studio, which band members Steve and Krista Yutzy-Burkey, Scott French and Rick Sieber built from scratch.

Soaked in retro tonality, People Are Soft mashes edgy ’80s pop with soaring synth arrangements. Steve Yutzy-Burkey’s seemingly humdrum vocals manage to find incomprehensible range. Occasionally sprinkling his deep tones within high-pitched notes, Yutzy-Burkey helps maintain the vintage feel yet avoids sounding outdated. The resonance is extremely tight and the album has an addictive steady pace, which keeps the listener from getting uninterested.

While the release tries to do a lot, it maintains a light simplicity — one of its major appeals.  While perfectly timed repetitive tunes avoid becoming overbearing, the lyrics come off slightly twisted and even mildly disturbed at times. But when layered with the serene melodies, each attains a certain nostalgia and sentimentality.

People Are Soft has countless layers of fresh sound, which avoids becoming a cluster of cacophony, and instead, soaks in near-perfect harmonious melodies that are too soothing to be ignored. The shimmery synth is layered throughout the album, and is constantly accompanied by a balancing acoustic that relieves the heaviness of the massive melodies. While there are a couple of tracks that fall somewhat short, the issues are too trivial to even mention.

The album has a fairly dominant punk sound, which combines with what can only be described as bubblegum pop. People Are Soft is a mature production, showing the band’s attention to even the slightest details.  While it may not be the best album we have heard all year, it‘s a good release that gets directly to the point of simply making good music.

— Irina Dvalidze

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