Album Review: Surreal by Swimmer
April 30, 1999
For a debut album, Surreal is not bad. Somewhat of a cross between the Smashing Pumpkins and the Goo Goo Dolls, Swimmer's style is a mix of rough-edged rock and grating vocals. Named after the Burt Lancaster movie "The Swimmer," Swimmer produces lyrics that aren't especially interesting--your regular blend of hostility, angst, and stale emotion--but they do work for the group's rock and punk tendencies with a slight alternative twist. The vocals are often drowned out by the overpowering instrumental back-up, but some songs are definitely worth a listen. The title song is refreshing, an almost ethereal experience spotted with spurts of dissonance that reflect the brutal realities apparent in much of the music. Listening further, though, you'll realize the same formula is repeated in every song--a few bars of the band, and within seconds, a mellow, whiny voice that enters and builds up to a shrill, screaming climax before dipping back into eerie sounds. The repetition made me wonder if I had listened to all eleven songs, or the same song again and again. Despite these flaws, the sounds of Swimmer are, strangely enough, quite soothing. Something to check out on a lazy, chill afternoon.