The Standard – Swimmer
Recorded by Rob Oberdorfer
Mixed and mastered by Tony Lash
After the band’s former label fell, frontman Tim Putnam took matters into his own hands, self-releasing The Standard’s fifth album, Swimmer, on a label of his own. Already garnering praise from industry critics across the board, this new album transitions the Portland four-piece from underground hero status to a better position in the spotlight.
On it, The Standard combines guitars, bass, sultry synths and complex drum rhythms into one smooth sound, lovingly contrasted by constantly changing, almost chaotic song structures. Putnam’s vocals are angst-ridden, but also exhibit more melodic characteristics; his is a purely emotive and effectively jagged presentation, set against the band’s free-flowing instrumentation.
The album opens energetically with “The Swimmer,” a big and bold song with strong beats, ambient effects and a pulsating rhythm at the outset. On the following track, “Through the Walls,” the complicated rhythms are taken over by rolling keys, which push the song forward with a sense of great urgency. Swimmer‘s most remarkable number, “Into the Fall,” features a poignantly overwhelming chorus complemented by sparkling synths and gentle keys. The track showcases the band’s capabilities in utilizing musical gaps and dramatic pauses, and gently drags like an insomniac seeking solace: “I sleep all day and wake up at night / Like a vampire with his blood-filled eyes / It’s down on me, down on me now.”
Swimmer presents itself as a model of musicianship with great precision. Every blip and bleep, swoosh and swirl holds an elegant place in the band’s masterpiece. Even still, the organic heart of Swimmer rests on the emotional dynamics of its thoughtful production, a well-laid plan that successfully sets for The Standard a new standard of its own. (Partisan Records)
-Keane Li (more…)