Can’t Swim are easily one of the most interesting bands in the industry right now. While you may know them best for their pop-punk influenced records, this five-piece are far from being confined to one genre, and every new venture they embark on, they do so with roaring success.
Think back to just over a year ago; Can’t Swim had released the totally left-field ‘Foreign Language’ EP, and for the first time we heard an aggressively heavy side to this band. It’s an EP that arguably earned them a slot on the Counterparts tour here in the UK, and yet it came just months before the release of the exceptionally delicate ‘When the Dust Settles’ EP, home to a number of reworked fan favourites. The stark contrast between these two – particularly when juxtaposed with the band’s previous material – acted as fierce proof that this band is yet to follow a sonic path that doesn’t work for them, fearless in their approach to their art.
And as if we needed further proof of that fearlessness, just a year later we have another new release and another polarising sound in the form of ‘Someone Who Isn’t Me’. Embracing synths and a little bit of dubstep, opening track ‘Someone Who Isn’t You’ will have you begging for the drop you never knew you needed from this band. It’s as dancey as a pop-punk track can get, and yet the subtle screaming elements of Chris LoPorto’s vocals add a heavier element that sees it remaining firmly wedged in the rock category, too.
While sonically the opening track is the most jarring on the record, ‘Who’s Happy?’ introduces LoPorto as we’ve never heard him before. His vocal tones are familiar, of course, but for the first time in the band’s career, there are moments where this track sounds like a straight up pop number – never more so than when the chorus kicks in. Yet, just before we hit the final chorus with a sigh of “oh fucking shit”, it’s suddenly so undeniably Can’t Swim that you can’t imagine the band ever having existed before now. It slots perfectly into their existing portfolio, building on their sonic experience and further cementing their talent.
We’re offered just a short respite before the band ramps it up again as things mellow out slightly with ‘Casey’, the consistent synth beat carrying the song alongside an underlying guitar riff which, while secondary, is oh so important for this track. The melancholy loss conveyed in the lyrics (loss being a common theme throughout the EP) are supported by vocal effects and an emotive yet slow build up of instruments that pack a punch straight to the heart. Written during the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that this record is filled with words borne out of rumination, and with a strong focus on missing someone and feeling lost without them, you’ll never feel that pain more than in this track.
Even as the pace picks up again with ‘Floor 71’, the heavy weight in your chest will remain until the chorus implores you to close your eyes and picture the perfect club scene, emphatically screaming the chorus of “I’m falling more in love” at your best friends, drink in hand, sloshing around carelessly as inhibitions are left at the door. Every sensation this EP evokes was made to linger in your bones long after each song ends and by the time you reach the acoustic closer ‘Tiny Hands’, your body will be reeling and tingling with every second that has passed until now. The track exudes a gentle vulnerability that can only come with loving someone so deeply that you never want them to be upset, yet still making the decision to leave them behind. There’s a real beauty in this being the EP’s finale, as with every ounce of sadness that endures, a new sense of hope that some love can last forever rises until all you’re left with is an overwhelming sense of peace.
Every one of Can’t Swim’s releases have marked a cornerstone in their career, and ‘Someone Who Isn’t Me’ is no exception. Try not to get too attached to this sound, though. We never know what might come next.