SWiiMS - Into The Blue Night (Album Review)

There's an escapist quality to Into The Blue Night, the debut album from Torontonian dream pop outfit SWiiMS. The songs, drenched in reverb, have a melodic first approach, and singer Mai Diaz Langou intoxicates the listener with her dreamy, somewhat pococurante vocals. Meanwhile, guitarist Colin Thompson builds a massive sonic wall of guitars, and bassist Cian O'Ruanaidh keeps things on track with steady lines, though steadiness should not imply an unwillingness to change; the bass often takes compelling risks. There's no information available on who is behind the drumming on this album, which leads one to conclude it is either a session musician or a program; it's hard to tell these days. Though, it hardly matters. The drums are consistently punchy and serve the songs well without ever taking centre stage.  

Thankfully, careful production and sonic texturing have mitigated any potentially sickly sweet moments. It's evident from the guitar tones that Thompson obsessed over mic placement and nerded out over pedals. It paid off. The lyrics aren't 100% comprehensible on first listen; something about diving into the ocean. Ambiguity is SWiiMS' strong suit, and they wrap their straightforward songs in a cloak of dream pop cues. And while the songs on Into The Blue Night are accessible across the board, underpinned by elegant melodies and glossy production, like on the banging opener "In Puzzles" or the edgier single "All I Die For", it's hard to know if these songs will stick. Their aloofness carries with it the likelihood of being unmemorable. However, there are some astounding highlights, like the loveable "Thru The Trees" or the unashamed sugary pop melodies of tracks like "Bliss" and "Fade Days", which are uplifting without ever being cheesy. 

Elsewhere, the uber-bonny "Chemical", with its fun bass line diverging from the abstract shoegaze, galvanizes the listener into a meditation on being present ("A symphony of stars, I feel something"). "Staring at the Sun" and "Limbs" offer more upbeat and rockier dynamics, with jangling guitars and snappy tempos. A sultry sense of the romantic abounds on "A Million Stars", with atmospheric guitars and reverberated vocals creating a song you can imagine on the soundtrack of a coming-of-age movie; a moody teenager listens to it in their candlelit bedroom, full of hope and potential. This youthful essence is perennial on Into the Blue Night, and buoyancy and starry-eyed optimism mark these otherwise moody and edgy songs.

Into The Blue Night by SWiiMS is an impressively stylistic debut album void of filler and full of high-quality melodies, voguishly oneirogen songs, and a blissed-out-slacker attitude. It is also successful in its apparent ambition to improve the mood of its audience.