Live Review: Swimming Tapes – Soup Kitchen, Manchester

I have to admit, I didn’t know too much about Swimming Tapes before attending this gig. Swimming Tapes are very much up-and-coming, and I’d heard their debut album Morningside which I liked a lot, and thought they were worth a punt. A punt for which it turns out I was very much rewarded.

There’s a nostalgia to the album that comes across live as well, like fondly remembering a summertime road trip in West Coast, U.S.A. The jangly, reverb, indie guitar and understated vocals put me very much in mind of U.S. guitar-indie like Real Estate and Alvvays.

The band surprisingly set up with four guitars, which you would think was overkill, but as the first bars played it was apparent that they have a surprisingly well crafted and practiced live sound. I say surprisingly again because the support act made us believe we were in for an evening of feedback and dropping vocals. The band used vintage amps on stage, as they probably did in the studio, which helped to create that feeling of fuzzy nostalgia. There was such a marked difference in quality of the sound between Swimming Tapes and the support act that I was quickly impressed and questioning why I hadn’t heard of Swimming Tapes sooner.

The set was a mixture of old EPs and songs from the new album, songs which span the last two years of the band’s existence. It Gets Old and Mirador from the new album were both stand-outs, and even though I didn’t know their older songs very well, I was enchanted throughout. Safe to say, their back-catalogue has now been eagerly devoured.

The Soup Kitchen isn’t the largest venue and it wasn’t full to capacity, but you could already tell the makings of a fan base in the audience. I’d now count myself an evangelical member of that club. Manchester was their penultimate show of this tour, so you’ll have to wait until the next time round to catch them.

Anthony Warrington

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