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Album Review: Fail You Again by Can’t Swim

New Jersey punk rock act Can’t Swim released their debut album Fail You Again on 10th March via Pure Noise Records. While we’re more than a couple of weeks late to the party, don’t fall foul of the same mistake. Going beyond their emo pop punk sound of their previous EP Death Deserves a Name, this marks an upturn in quality and confidence.

While keeping the lyrical content in the morose, Can’t Swim have grown and found a sound that they blossom in. This is closer to the assured punk of modern day Title Fight than the more generic pop punk of the bands previous efforts.

While it’s still accessible and will have mass appeal, Fail You Again has more lasting power. You’ll want to listen to it on repeat, Can’t Swim are no longer a throw away band. Take big pumping tracks like ‘Stranger’ and ’50,000,00’ and you’ll find a band that’s managed to work their way into your subconscious and become something you love without even realising it.

That in itself is the biggest problem with Fail You Again. It takes multiple listens for you to like it, as it becomes more familiar you’ll appreciate and enjoy the punky melodies and slowly but surely it will become a favourite. There’s a notable change to the vocals too, generally it’s smoother and there’s less of sneer, the edge is still there but it’s easier on the ear and far more enjoyable.

While there’s undeniable quality in tracks like ‘Her Amy’, ‘Friend’ and ‘Kid’ there is an element of flattering to deceive with Fail You Again. Can’t Swim aren’t doing anything new or particularly special here – you’ll enjoy it and it’s a rock-hard debut – but there’s something that will leave you a little ‘meh’ about it all.

There’s bags of potential with Can’t Swim and you’ve got to feel that they might just have missed and open goal here. A solid, if uninspiring debut.

AD Rating: 6/10

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