Can’t Swim have returned following their debut EP last year to release their first full-length Fail You Again. The album is the first release to feature new drummer Andrea Morgan taking Danny Rico’s place as he shifts to guitar. It takes a stylistic stance between indie, emo, pop punk and grunge with tendencies of all four throughout. With some tracks holding pace and power and others slow and steady, the album demonstrates just how good Can’t Swim really are.
Fail You Again opens with an aggressive, fast-paced piece called What’s Your Big Idea. The song is one of the heaviest on the album as it pulsates through the verses and breaks into massive choruses asking “what you running from?”. The outro is one of the hardest-hitting pieces on the album, verging on hardcore levels of sludginess. A good start to the album.
Directly contrasting this is second track We Won’t Sleep, where the album has its first moments of true brilliance. The song opens on a softer, more indie-centred sound that the band execute well. The chorus choir vocal works fantastically, yet Chris LoPorto’s distinctive voice keeps the song sounding like the same band the Can’t Swim the fanbase are used to. The song’s style is different, but they have their own songwriting techniques and personal styles that keep it very recognisable.
The top song is $50,000,000, which has serious grunge flair. The pace is slow allowing a hard, packed out sound to hit that causes this song to be one of the heaviest on the album. The after the quieter bridge there is a pause for Chris to have a quick shout before a giant guitar-led fill comes in, absolutely battering the listener with the rough tones of the instruments.
Closing track All The Moves We Make Are In The Dark sums up the different styles Can’t Swim incorporate on Fail You Again with the alt-rock verses, grunge/emo choruses and a breakdown of a more melodic hardcore sound that they execute immaculately. A fitting end to a fantastic album that’s as diverse as it is classy.
Overall, an album that demonstrates a fantastic development from Can’t Swim‘s first release in last year’s Death Deserves A Name EP. With the whole album falling into the same pioneering area between emo and pop punk as Moose Blood and Boston Manor, Fail You Again is a potentially genre-defining release that sets Can’t Swim apart from the rest. The album will set the band up fully for the US tour with Four Year Strong this month and the April Real Friends UK tour, but most of all the whole album is a lie – they haven’t failed us before and they most certainly don’t fail us now!