Can’t Swim – ‘When The Dust Settles’

By Dave Stewart

So, winter has finally decided to go into hiding for another year and the sun has necked a few coffees to kickstart the warmer seasons with a nice chunk of overtime. Pizza sales are going to spike, everyone and their nan is going to show a bit more leg and, more importantly, the sweet tones of pop-punk are going to start blaring out of speakers again.

A lot of you would be spending the coming weeks prepping for festival season were it not for the pandemic pulling the rug from under it, but that doesn’t mean that the bands that would’ve been gracing the stages are going to go down too. Can’t Swim are one of the bands that are standing tall and providing your eager ears with a new soundtrack in the form of an EP, ‘When The Dust Settles’, and it’s coincidentally very fitting for the current times.

Life is different for everybody right now, all of us adapting to a new way of living and evolving as things change around us. ‘When The Dust Settles’ demonstrates the band reinventing some of their most loved songs, undergoing an evolution of their own and producing a moving collection of songs that have the potential to resonate with every person that they reach in a fresh, new way.

Opening with ‘sometimes you meet the right people at the wrong times’, you’ll find yourself greeted by an elegant piano and muted drums, the delicacy of which is enhanced by the luscious, reverberated tones of lead vocalist Chris LoPorto. The re-imagining turns the song from a cry of frustration and resentment to one of reflection and remembrance, gently flowing from every chord and massaging the pain away. ‘Death Deserves A Name’ follows a similar formula, swapping the distorted guitars and pounding drums of the original for understated synths, choir-like vocals and wonderfully spacious production to transport you to another plane entirely.

Fan favourite ‘Stranger’ is even more heartbreaking than the original, with the stripped back instrumentation heightening the emotion in the lyrics to all new levels. LoPorto applies a much softer approach to this revisited version, switching from subtle and fragile to bold and robust in all the right places. ‘My Queen’ closes out the EP, boasting the most rich instrumentation of all the songs and using it beautifully. The string sections add an almost romantic vibe to the music, gradually adding more and more layers until they’ve created a tidal wave of intensity that crashes the EP into a dramatically stunning end. A short but very sweet change of pace from one of pop-punks brightest lights.

All four of the reinvented tracks still tightly grasp their foundations and thematically stay true to the original pictures, but allow a softer palette and more delicate tools to colour the canvas. The end result is incredibly serene and heartwarming, creating something that is relaxing and meditative as well as oddly resonant with the current situation that surrounds us all. ‘When The Dust Settles’ is a beautiful little gem that will have you head over heels. Just make sure you listen to it in direct sunlight to get the full effect. Trust me.

DAVE STEWART

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