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Album Review: Strong Waves Kill Weak Swimmers - Questions Are Like The Knocks Of A Beggar Man

A band can have the most pretentious and ridiculous name in the world as long as the music is good. Unfortunately for Strong Waves Kill Weak Swimmers, the songs that they have committed to this record just aren't up to scratch. The two-piece from Pittsburgh have got very little right on this EP. The songs vary from the dull to the plain irritating and although the Brand New influence is apparent throughout, Jesse Lacey worshippers need not worry as 'Strong Waves...' have little in their arsenal to challenge the throne.

Kicking off with the horrendously mixed "Wolves", it takes around ten seconds for the hip hop-esque beat to grate. It's unsure whether the band was attempting to create an atmospheric opener to their EP or that they just don't have a clue about levels, either way everything of worth is drowned out on the opening track. By second track "There's Something In The Sea", you are beginning to fear for the band's dental hygiene as it's the second track on the trot to mention broken teeth. Again the electronic beats and blips drown out the vocals and disguise the melody. However, unlike the opener, the track almost redeems itself by the chorus. This track sounds less like The Knife's' cutting room floor rejects and more like a track off Action Action's less than successful "An Army of Shapes" album. It's not as bad as "Wolves", but that's hardly high praise.

The synth is thankfully dropped for the aptly titled third track, "Nothing To Write Home About". Largely acoustic guitar focused, it feels like it should be closing the EP. It sounds like the kind of thing a failed pop-punk singer would put out if he was attempting to go solo. The vocals seem strained in places, and musically it's quite unremarkable.

It's not that Strong Waves Kill Weak Swimmers sound that alike musically to Brand New, it is just some moments are reminiscent of a 'remixed' Brand New composition. This is none more apparent on the last two tracks. "Composites" is very much a cards-on-the-table kind of track. Every ploy is initiated to attempt to lure the listener in; Gang vocals? Check; Repetitive chorus? Check; Name-dropping lyrics? Check. However name-dropping Something Corporate and Jimmy Eat World (amongst others) does not ensure your song will be good. Up until this point it is very unclear as to what Strong Waves have to offer, let alone what they were trying to achieve, yet all hope is not lost. Closing track "Let The Right One In" is actually ok. It's almost as if tracks one to four represent the band cleansing the crap from their system, in order to be able to produce one solid track of what they set out to achieve in the first place. The dance beat is there, but for the first time is mixed well. The repetitive chorus is still present, but it gets fully into the realms of catchy before the end. Ultimately, they would have probably been better off releasing this as a single and then heading back to the drawing board.


'Questions Are Like The Knocks Of A Beggar Man' by Strong Waves Kill Weak Swimmers is available for free here.

Daniel Issitt

Alter The Press!