There’s a vast number of things Can’t Swim are accomplished at, but if you absolutely had to single one out, it would be their seemingly effortless ability to add groove to every song they write. It’s not just melody, a hook or a catchy riff either, it’s a little bit of magic that takes it far beyond something that’s simply pleasing to listen to. Your Clothes, as an example, has an infectious samba beat that marries with this irresistible bassline to create a hypnotic undertone you can almost feel in your bones – and that only covers their very first EP, Death Deserves a Name. Their catalogue is littered with examples, like the galloping rhythm of What Have We Done and the off kilter beats of Malicious 444.
This quality shines brightest on their latest EP, Foreign Language, which is a step towards frontman Chris LoPorto’s hardcore punk roots whilst still maintaining that rhythmic technicallity that propels the EP forward. The first single Filthy Rich moves into the post-hardcore realm, where bands often trade off melody for emotion, but not Can’t Swim. It’s ferocious and bubbling with anger, but without compromising on the groove, and that remains true for every other song on the EP, too.
What becomes apparent immediately, is that Foreign Language was born out of anger and injustice, so it’s not surprising that it’s the loudest we’ve heard Can’t Swim yet. It’s also not surprising how much we like it. There’s something exciting about LoPorto’s taunting scream – especially in the quieter moments of Prick, Filthy Rich and SHOOT! – and the pummeling instrumentation that will awake the anarchist in every one of us. “These events in my life that I had never touched on in previous material, that I never had the right words for, finally made sense in the time we are living in now,” said LoPorto about the message.
Power has a definite Rage Against the Machine vibe, but with a sprinkling of that Can’t Swim magic. It’s funny, because like Rage Against and political punk titans, Anti-Flag, Can’t Swim have figured out the winning formula for tackling weighty topics and it’s by doing it with clever lyricism and melodies that’ll stay with you for days.
Foreign Language also features a number of guest appearances, ranging from Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara to Spencer Pollard of Trash Talk, as well as Frank Carter and Stray From The Path’s Drew Dijorio, who each take a turn on vocals across four of the six songs on the EP.
There are so many elements to highlight, because it truly is such an accomplished and powerful EP that it will certainly resonate with listeners on different levels. Can’t Swim have outdone themselves with something that sounds fresh, fearless and unapologetic, leaving no room for anything to get lost in translation.
Standout Tracks: Filthy Rich, SHOOT!, Prick
For Fans Of: Rage Against The Machine, 2010 era-Bring Me The Horizon, Beartooth
Written by: Renette van der Merwe