Live Review: Swim Deep @ The Parish – 27th September

Kerri Wynter reviews Swim Deep’s concert at The Parish in Huddersfield, ahead of the release of their third album.


Over the past six years, Swim Deep have respawned from shoegaze gods to “making it independently on a shoestring.” During which, the band has exploited synthesizers in their 2015 release: Mothers and undergone the loss of members, Tom Higgins and Zachary Robinson. At this point, nothing can hold Swim Deep back.

After supporting The 1975 in early 2013, the fivesome is making their way back up from the toilet circuit with a bucket of determination and a humble mop in hand. Still, the last place you’d think to see the five-piece performing is at a Freshers event in Huddersfield… It seems that what would be the final straw for many has spurred on Austin “Ozzy” Williams and co. to achieve the success they crave and rightfully deserve.

In an interview with The Line of Best Fit, bassist Cavan McCarthy outlines, “The line-up change gave [the band] a new lease of life… it was the kick up the ass that we needed.” This is evident in how close-knit the band, including new members Tom Fiquet and Robbie Wood, appear when performing on stage. With the sheer joy and passion each member exudes, the casual fan would think that these guys had been playing together for years.

One element that has remained constant throughout the band’s journey is its ethos of giving listeners the motivation to let go of their worries and enjoy themselves.

Ahead of their first UK tour since 2016, the band bounces into The Venue – a blacked-out shoebox located in The Parish’s beer garden. Instantly injecting a state of blissfulness into the miscellaneous collection of university students; most of whom are unaware that they have stumbled onto the next big thing.

The heavenly simplicity and craftsmanship of ‘To Feel Good’ proves that Ozzy’s Mike Skinner-esque approach is just as entertaining as the band’s out-of-the-box creations. With ‘Fueiho Boogie’, an eight-minute techno journey, being an example of the latter. Showcasing the beauty of intermate gigs, the band converses with a fan on the front row regarding her love the track, which the lead singer outlines was inspired by Tokyo’s 67-year-long ban on dancing in public.

The frontman’s ability to captivate and connect strangers cannot go uncredited; be it through his endearing vulnerability or how he manages to turn a tambourine into a lethal weapon. Before the band performs ‘Sail Away, Say Goodbye’, he announces his admiration for his nan – sending a wave of silencing emotion over the crowd that forces us to be present in the moment.

Ending the night on a high, McCarthy and Williams join the crowd to perform ‘King City’ from the floor. In a picturesque moment, fans – old and new – dance around McCarthy as he performs the first bassline he ever learned.

Swim Deep embark on their UK tour, with support from Phoebe Green, this month.

Their third album Emerald Classics is out now, and available to buy here

Follow Kerri on Twitter (@kerriwynter)