Free Swim: Shunning and Embracing The Inner Rock Star

It’s happening more and more: bands that don’t provide photos of themselves are rife. What are they hiding?

I always assumed that music makers actively want attention. Perhaps my projections have been tainted by one L. Gallagher of Burnage, Manchester – a man whose aggressively I don’t care, me stance is diametrically opposed by the plain-as-day fact that he loves the beery, bellowing hordes before him.

Free Swim is one of the new breed: the ones for whom the anonymity granted them by the internet has freed their latent rock-star.

 I could find no photo of him other than the pencil-and-paint drawing above. This mysterious shunning of the limelight is – like in the case of Liam – both at odds and in keeping with his chosen subject matter.

The kernel of truth in lyrics like, “I want to get out  of here, I want to be a mountaineer,” is one that we’ve all settled on fleetingly, at some point or other. And in essence, isn’t a grab at dangerous freedom what being a free swimmer is all about?

After all, what is the use of being in a rock band – especially one as punchy, enthusiastic and enthralling as Free Swim – if escapism isn’t the primary driving desire? I Want Be A Mountaineer has escape writ large all over it: a rich- – decadent, even – swirl of precisely chosen guitar noise casually cranked up to leave us with a luxuriantly freeing fuzz.

It’s a song that doesn’t get made too often – well, it does, just not this well. Most stabs at this kind of song emerge as a dreadful sub-MC5/Stooges boogie; I Want Be A Mountaineer is defined by its clear-cut, deep-down muddiness.

Free Swim are the embodiment of rock’s thrust and indicative of its alluring twinkle. No posing, no faux-coyness – just bags of wide-eyed, low-key thrills. Excellent.


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