Warm Thoughts - I Went Swimming Alone (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Warm Thoughts

I Went Swimming Alone (2018)

asian man records

This new Warm Thoughts record isn't something I'd expect from Asian Man. Not that it's bad or anything, but it's not exactly the buoyant fizz of punk I anticipated. In fact, it's very breezy and mainstream (at times, a bit generic) but when you peer closer, it really is something special. This is the solo project from Touche Amore drummer, Elliot Babin, who recorded all the instruments himself, and then goes on to throw down a pop-punk voice that's made for Warped Tour. What results is I Went Swimming Alone, a diary of him getting back from post-hardcore duty on the road after four months and soaking in the isolation with his, well, warm thoughts.

I loved the rough sound he created before but I'll admit this over-produced sound works even better -- something I honestly thought I'd dislike. But on Joyce Manor-esque songs like "Your Haircut Man" and "The Pier", it's really clean-cut pop punk at its finest and something Elliot feels like he's being for years. Granted, the songs that drag, really do drag but with the melodic, bouncy hooks and singalong choruses on tap, you can't help but have fun with him. 

Whether it's the slow tracks like "To Talk At" or that new wave alt. rock a la Sundressed (see "Intangible"), this is all about Elliot breaking free of the frenetic pace Touche surrounds him with. Ultimately, it's a respite well-deserved, and well-worn. It's a good change of pace for one of the best drummers in the game and clearly, one of the most pristine vocalists around. Next time though, rough it and get more aggressive. Dare I say... get more punk?