(UK), "Whippings" b/w "Boxes"
Maxi 10" Single. Original Catalog Number: QX009-10.
entrancing collision of raw dissonance, glam-pop and art-rock."
Hellier - Guitar
Chris Teckham - Bass, Vocals
Duncan Campbell - Guitar, Organ
Huw Dainow - Drums
was Quixotic's first--and only--foray into the thriving London music
scene, and our most successful record by far. Huw Dainow was
on tour with the Television Personalities (with Jowe Head playing
bass) when Quixotic's John Tanzer made his acquaintance. A demo
tape was all that was needed to convince us that Swimmer was onto
something good, and "Whippings" b/w "Boxes" was
pressed up as a maxi 10" single (catalog number QX009-10).
by Liam Watson
at the all-vacuum tube Toe Rag Studios in London, this wonderful record
became an NME Single Of The Week immediately
upon its release. The BBC played the hell out of this record,
and why shouldn't they have? Swimmer became underground legends
in foggy London--and this was their very first record released anywhere.
How did we get it? Just one of those things.
Records UK (not affiliated with Squeeze, please!) was launched in
London to do the follow-up CD EP, "Sinking My Tin Boats"--another
brilliant little record that we don't have single copy of, so don't
ask. The band formed Sweet Records to produce yet another CD
EP, "Breakfast With Omar" (also available on vinyl).
An album, "Petits Pois" followed shortly thereafter.
And then that seems to have been the last of Swimmer, because they
morphed into a new band called Ten Benson! Go figure. Original
copies of this 10" are quite collectible nowadays, fetching some
high prices on the open market.
( April 16, 1994)
"First the cheeky bass beat and snorting guitar. Then a voice
invites us to 'come closer dear, my family's buried here' and suddenly
the seductive coo takes on a darker undertow. The swirling depths
of low-fi fuzz expand and suddenly you're drowning in a deep pool
of guitar psychosis. And it's bliss. Such is the effect of London
four-piece Swimmer's debut. The B-side, 'Whippings', screams with
pent-up sexual fury. Roger Hellier's guitar is a wash of crackling
Sonic Youth energy and dissonant chords railing against singer Chris
Tekkam's passion. `These whippings are real,' he cries, and then adds
with a sneer, 'but not hard enough' as the guitar squeals into a funky
electro riff. There are shades of Brian Eno circa 'Warm Jets' in the
song structures, or maybe it's more Roxy Music meeting up with Bolan,
and certainly a kind of experimentalism that harks back to the Velvet
Underground lurking in the fuzzy depths, but Swimmer are nobody's
retro-band. They've just reinvented pop-noir with elegance rather
than cheap thrift-store fakery and sent it grinning malevolently into
Music Journal (June 13, 1994, Bryan McNamara)
"London's Swimmer may hail from the land of goth, but its music
is more akin to American indie rock. Using equal parts anthemic rock
and experimental guitar doodling, Swimmer explores the post-punk world
with satisfying results. "
(September 14, 1996, for "Petits Pois", released on Sweet
THEY ARE the Mavericks of Lairy Lo-Fi Pop. They are the Kray Quads
of East London. They are Blur with credibility. They are Brit Yob
wearing art boots. And 'Petits Pois' is a debut album that perfectly
simulates the joys of driving flat out through the city in a really
crap old car. Adrenaline and fumes. The Swimmer four have
changed since their tricky winners from 18 months ago, 'Boxes' and
'Whippings'. Back then, their awkwardness comprised getting into Wire
well before Elastica; and 'Warm Jets'-era Eno before Suede. Now they've
pushed on into a kind of belligerent three-minute punkiness with grit
in the mixing desk and Cockney surrealism in the lyrics. Don't let
the 'lo-fi' tag put you off. Beneath the harsh/visceral surface there
are joyous tunes, sardonic wit and a lairy X-factor. Take 'It's A
Dirty Job'. Drums like colliding kettles clatter while a guitar riff
stutters, a siren wails and Chris sings of a cut-price killer "with
orders from above". It's insane, but like much of their primitive
pop, it's also addictive. There are lulls in the 15 bursts of
acidic bass shunting. But the superbly-named 'Ponces', the mangled
music box ballad 'Another Face', the frantic 'Elvis Hour' and the
spiv rocker 'Grey Stripes' are mini-classics of grimy English pub-cultural
pop panache. Any bunch who can sound simultaneously like 'Spiral
Scratch' Buzzcocks, Blur, The Fall and early Stones must be worth
dipping into. Small peas. Big queues.
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