BIRMINGHAM four piece, Swim Deep, took to the stage at The Ritz in Manchester last night following the release of their second album, ‘Mothers’. Our entertainment reporter Abi White was there…

After the release of their debut album back in 2013, Swim Deep exposed their sweetheart indie-pop melodies to the world. Since then, it’s only fair to say that the band have come on leaps and bounds since their first gigs back in 2013. Not only finding a new style, the bands stage presence has greatly changed in the last two years, almost feeling as if this is a completely different band.

The gig opened with Glaswegian four piece, Catholic Action. As this band were on first, it was disappointing that there wasn’t a great deal of fans to see the band. Despite this, they created an ambience that built up a deal of excitement for both The Magic Gang and Swim Deep. Although this band had talent, the audience were not fully engaged, suggesting the band may need to refine and find their style a little more.

As more fans piled into The Ritz, the venue was substantially busier for The Magic Gang. Having supported Swim Deep on past tours, The Magic Gang were welcomed with open arms, with a lot more of the audience engaged with their set. The Brighton band had great audience interaction and their joyful indie melodies linked nicely to the old indie-pop music of Swim Deep back in 2013.

The magic gang

The lights then dimmed and Swim Deep were welcomed on to the stage to the Jurassic Park theme tune – evidently the band’s tradition. Opening with a track from their new album, ‘Namaste’ the audience were excited at the presence of Swim Deep being on stage. From their new album, ‘Namaste’ and ‘Preach to my Brother’ are the only two tracks that loosely link to the old album, with catchy hooks and a hint of pop. Therefore, this track went down particularly well as far as new songs go.

This was then closely followed by the well-known track, ‘Francisco’ a brilliant hit off ‘Where the Heaven Are We’. With the audience being more familiar with the old album, the alternate tracks between the old and new albums was a good choice of set list made by the band. It held the audience’s attention, flicking from ‘Fracisco’ to ‘Grand Affection’ and ‘One Great Song’ off ‘Mothers’, then back to ‘Red Lips I Know’ off ‘Where the Heaven Are We’.

Up to this point in the set, the audience were fairly lively, yet still engaged in Swim Deep’s set. However, after ‘Red Lips I know,’ the band played three consecutive songs off their new album. It didn’t help that the audience were unfamiliar with the new songs, but the audience went from singing their hearts out to the indie-pop sweethearts to pushing each other around for fun. It almost seemed as though Swim Deep had slightly lost the audience to boredom. Although their new album is a completely different sound to their debut, it’s very clear which sound their fans prefer.

After the lull, Swim Deep managed to grab the audience’s attention once again with two old songs off their debut album, ‘Honey’ and ‘King City’.  The difference between the old album’s receptions compared with the new album is just too noticeable to ignore. During these two songs, every audience member was participating with one another, singing to each other and generally having a good time. Whereas during the new songs, the fans seem to have a disrespect for each other, pushing each other around with no regard for each other.

The band ended their set with ‘Fueiho Boogie,’ in which they returned not long after with the encore of the beautiful track off their first album, ‘She Changes the Weather.’ This absolutely stunning love song just screams out why Swim Deep should go back to making music similar to off their first album. It demonstrates what truly great songwriters they are – sparking emotion within every member of the audience. Having seen Swim Deep nine times before, it still manages to send shivers down my spine every time.

Ending finally on ‘Preach to my Brother’ this was probably the best song to end with from their new album. It almost acts as a bridge between the old and new styles of Swim Deep – demonstrating how they have grown over the past few years. Despite changing their style, ‘Preach to my Brother’ gathered a warm reception and ended their set leaving their excitable crowd happy.

By: Abi White

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