Swimming Tapes – Morningside review

Secret Meeting score: 80

by Philip Moss

Sometimes a record can appear at just the right moment. In a world filled with political angst, music can be the perfect tonic – and Swimming Tapes’ debut album, Morningside, is the ideal distraction.

Opener, Passing Ships, has all the dream pop hallmarks – recalling Real Estate’s Darling in its opening, chorus-laden guitars. But singer Robbie Reid’s breathy delivery and the hazy reflections – ‘I thought I saw you once passing on the overground, we were two ships passing on the sea’ – carry a tinge of regret, which conjures a feeling more akin to staring at the sun through squinted eyes, rather than full basking.

Despite being recorded mostly live in London, Morningside was mixed in Chicago by Tom Schick (Wilco, Beck, Parquet Courts), who does a wonderful job in balancing its lo-fi sparkle. Mirador’s to and fro vocals between Reid and Lewis Price produce the most inescapable melody on the record, Pyrenees is the nearest the LP heads towards bedroom pop territory, and Keep Her Closer recalls sadly defunct Morecambe based jangle-popsters, The Heartbreaks.

In trying times, Morningside is full of shimmering warmth, and could be the ideal escapism you are looking for.

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