Something about the cover of Better Swells’ ‘Adrift’ EP is speaking to me tonight. The image of just a person in what seems to be a boat with nothing else really going on just seems to fit where I am in life right now. Things are still intense here in Minneapolis and I feel like I’m just kind of floating through life while trying not to be overcome by all of the emotion flowing through this city. I’m not sure what to expect from this uber quick three-song EP but I really hope it’s exactly what I need tonight.
The first of the three tracks is “Nobody Think”. It instantly provided a beautiful soundscape throughout my house. There’s something calming about the guitar tone but also something full of energy and life about the overall vibe. As the vocals came in, I realized that this is exactly what I needed tonight. Even though still calming, there’s something highly emotional about this opening track. Every word comes with a sense of weight behind it but it’s not overwhelming. It’s the kind of track that leaves you lost in your own head and almost acts as support while you try to sort through your thoughts. It’s far from background music but something about the waves of volume and power just helps set your mind “adrift” (see what I did there?).
“Paranoia” continues with the oddly soothing vibes while being full of energy. This track starts with a dazzling guitar part before the rest of the band kicks in and takes this track to the familiar indie-pop-rock zone that “Nobody Think” was in. There’s something a little bit more subdued about this track compared to the opening track but this one is still clearly that of Bitter Swells. Even as this track hits its stride with the chorus, there’s a sense of pain and desperation in each word which gives this four-and-a-half-minute track the feeling like it’s just seconds long. The smooth vocals were definitely a stand-out for “Nobody Think” but they really seem to take the spotlight in this track as the rest of the bad takes a backseat and lets the vocals command this track all the way to the end.
I am so in love with Better Swells’ that I hate the fact we are already at the end of this EP with “Where There’s Smoke”. Thankfully, this track is just as good as the first two if not better. I love the beauty that comes with this final track. There are parts of echoey spiciness followed by an anthemic chorus. The contrast of these two parts really had me struck in awe. It’s not that I didn’t think that this band was capable of such a powerful sound and juxtaposition because I heard in the first two tracks but I think just hearing it that plainly had me shook. Out of all the tracks on this album, this final one was the one that stood out the most and was my favorite but it also made me want so much more than just these three tracks.
I’ll be honest, I thought I was going to get something a bit more acoustic just based on the cover of Better Swells’ ‘Adrift’ but the beautiful soundscape that I got was exactly what I needed. I always tell people asking for reviews that I can not promise them a timeframe of when I’ll get to their albums because I only review things when they “speak to me” and I feel like this is a perfect example of that. ‘Adrift’ hit me so perfectly tonight and I truly can’t wait to see what else Better Swells has out there!
My Favorite Track(s): Just listen to all 3– there are only 3– you have the time
For Fans Of: Indie Pop Tendencies; Beautiful Soundscapes; Smooth and Calming Vocals
Daydream-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid next to my desk; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.3 out of 10
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