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Swim School's 'making sense of it all' EP is one of 2021's best

The Edinburgh band's debut EP features roaring rock anthems and plenty of punch that should have them travelling places.


Swim School are a Scottish alternative band that have been hotly tipped for the past couple of years in both their home country and the UK. They produce a hard-hitting, hook-filled rock sound that's destined to take them far beyond their east of Scotland roots.

This hype has been furthered with the release of their excellent debut EP making sense of it all, a joyful and emotional record that will have you thirsty for more upon completion.

The five-track EP certainly does sound familiar. The Edinburgh band have brought together genres like grunge, dream-pop and shoegaze to produce an irresistible listen that will demand your attention.

As you listen, you'll notice a range of influences across the indie world including Wolf Alice, Dream Wife, Ride, The Cure and Foals. Mostly for me, though, I was drawing comparisons to Welsh alt-rockers The Joy Formidable and their spine-tingling, explosive rock sound. This isn't to say they're a copycat band, they merge these influences to create their own character.

With Glasgow very much dominating the Scottish music world, it can frustrate the Edinburgh natives that their city is often overlooked, both in terms of band exposure and gig events. So it's certainly welcomed that auld reekie has produced one of Scotland's brightest young bands, redressing Scotland's musical map balance somewhat (not forgetting We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Vistas, of course).

In a press release to promote the record, lead singer Alice Johnson admitted that her own mental health problems over the past 12 months were a source of inspiration for the record:

Each track on the EP is based on an event that I’ve experienced in the last year and the effect it had on my own mental state and also the mental state of everyone who was involved. The title “making sense of it all” is the perfect way to express the common feeling that runs throughout the EP. There’s sad, happy and angry songs, each expressing how it feels to try and understand how you are feeling in hard situations.

Finding therapy through music, Swim School's sound and lyricism is bound to connect with many indie rock fans eager to find their place in what has been a difficult year through the lockdown.

'Let Me Inside Your Head' opens the EP and begins ominously before moving into an explosive indie banger with darker undertones. It's likely to be an ear-shattering live favourite on their upcoming UK tour (side note: isn't it great that gigs are back?!) and will have you turn the notches on your speakers up that extra point or two.

Tracks like 'Anyway' and 'Outside' also showcase the band in their anthemic rock glory, whilst mid-way track 'Everything You Wanted' allows for an atmospheric breather, finishing on a singalong and pounding, industrial note.

Swim School may draw upon many familiar indie influences, but their sound will instantly make you want to fall in love with them. making sense of it all definitely left me satisfied and also wanting more.

Despite the title, it was easy to make sense of it all in the end (see what I did there?!).


Like what you hear? Swim School are touring live around the UK in August, September and October.

Live Dates:

5th August - Night & Day, Manchester

8th August - Fringe By The Sea, Edinburgh

21st August - King Tuts, Glasgow

26th August - The Bodega, Nottingham

30th August - All Points East, London

16th September - Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh

9th October - Twisterella, Middlesborough


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