Swan Dive - Fly Toward The Sun [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Swan Dive

Fly Toward The Sun [EP] (2014)

FITA Records

There's a nice musical aesthetic coming out the United Kingdom over the past four years. It's a good variety between laid-back, melodic indie-pop and of course, hard-hitting punk. I've swam in the more indie-punk stream of things and Swan Dive is a band that finally came into the light on the advice of some friends. They're cast in a more alternative-punk than indie mold but with lesser focus on the punk aspect of things. That said, Fly Toward The Sun has a rough-cut, looser take on, say, Interpol, which lends a lot of strength to the record while staying true to its European, or should I say, British essence.

Swan Dive utilize a distorted, grainy, warehouse production effect with a lot of emphasis playing off that ambient, distant sound on the record. It's spacey in its own right and you can tell by the crashing cymbals which generate a loud, boosted live effect. This accentuates the '90s-era grunge feel that canvasses the self-titled opener as well as "Dirtbag." With just four tracks to assimilate in under ten minutes, you appreciate the bits of dissonance which somehow match the band's attempts to create an accessible starting point for listeners.

"Hopesick" has a more Euro-punk brand to it -- brash and rapid -- but as cavalier as it comes off, you're left wondering and of course, a bit uncertain, if this is just an experimental track or a swirly sound that they may never follow up on or polish. The unrefined sound does work in their favor but this punk track shows greater potential. The distant vocals don't always work because the echoing layers add disconnection, as seen on "Til You're Numb" -- with just too much reverb. It doesn't hit the mark at all and feels short of lazy as its electric-ballad feel doesn't register well. The sound travels but just seems too incoherent in its forced melody.

Overall, Fly Toward The Sun could turn things up a notch with some straight-laced punk. Teases appear and show that so much more could be cultivated. However, the band doesn't follow that route and it takes some gleam off here. All in all, Swan Dive has a spark in their step and it shows. Some all-round retooling here and there, and it'll be a safe bet to say they'll be back with something engaging...dare I say...thoroughly engrossing. They have the tools but some reassembly's needed.