Idle/Wild by Night Swims (Album Review)

One qualm religious types have with atheism is that it lacks depth, emotion, and hope. For centuries, our culture was based around the idea that reality was merely a percursor to an everlasting afterlife. However, that's no longer the prevailing ideology of our developing world. Younger generations have been finding meaning and spiritual fulfillment without the aid of religion. This revolution has been making its way into our culture, not only in literature but in music. 

Night Swims are a band from California that straddles the line between indie-rock and post-punk, with some ornamental orchestration thrown in for good measure. "Catcher", the opening track of their debut album "Idle/Wild", pontificates on a life without a deity; "Got no god / The only faith I have is in my blood." Here, the writer struggles with the idea that an external force is the only saviour for our tumultuous inner lives. There is a musing on the emptiness that comes in the transition between a loss of faith and an acceptance of cold reality. "I want to be American, But I got to love Jesus / I wish that I could turn around and give love to everyone and myself."

Perhaps, wishing is enough to prove that having hope without faith is not a contradiction. While the lyrics across this stellar album don't always explicitly talk of such spiritual confusion, these songs' overarching theme is redemption through logic, taking off our rose-colored glasses, seeing the world for what it is, and finding a way to keep warm within the coldness. 

It's not all so hefty. Tracks like "Neverless" and "After All" employ joyous melodies and exuberant instrumentation to create quite uplifting songs that remind us that "After all, life is beautiful." This emotional balance is imperative to the project's success, and Night Swims can inspire deep philosophical thought while also delivering some genuinely hypnotizing grooves.

The production quality here is also solid across the ten tracks, even if sometimes the midi instrumentation can sound plastic against the earthy acoustic and electric instruments. It's also notable that the album isn't top-heavy, and some of the album's best tracks ("Glass Animals", "All Night Radio") are to be found in the second half. "

Idle/Wild" is a strong debut that anyone with a penchant for introspective and personal songs played freshly and excitingly is sure to enjoy. If you're currently amidst an existential crisis, no doubt spurred on by our hectic modern world, Night Swims could be the friend you need to remind you that, after all, life is original.