After their acclaimed 2008 debut Fighting Trees, The Swimmers decided to somewhat reinvent themselves for their sophomore album. People Are Soft is the result of self-imposed isolation that had the four members (Steve and Krista Yutzy-Burkey, Scott French, and Rick Sieber) build a home studio and record the music themselves.
Upon my first listen to Philadelphia four-piece The Swimmers, I had a hard time trying to figure out what I was listening to. And that's not really a bad thing. Or at least I didn't intend to make that sound bad.
The opening "Shelter" breezes like a cool wind off the California surf. I swear I thought I was listening to a band from Orange County, or least maybe another band that oozes similar breezy pop rock like Longwave or even The Shins (if you're listening to "A Hundred Hearts").
That sentiment is temporary. With "What This World Is Coming To" you start to feel the underpinnings of something more somber and a bit reflexive, which isn't surprising given the band's intent to pour as much of themselves into the album as possible.
"It was a very focused and isolated time. Scott and I traded back and forth, refining and affecting the mixes… I think we all journey pretty deep inside ourselves during the project," lead vocalist Steve Yutzy-Burkey said about recording in their home studio.
While deep is an appropriate depiction, maybe back and forth would seem even more appropriate. At one end, you could have some retro-80s stylings like the somewhat manic "Give Me The Sun," while the other end (as in the next track) could have a subdued pseudo-anthem for the chronically dejected in "Save Me (From The Brightness)."
And again, that's not a bad thing. I sometimes take my coffee with cream and sugar, and other times I take it straight up. Either way, I need to have my coffee, which is where I think The Swimmers ultimately ends up.