November 14, 2018 Can’t Swim – This Too Won’t Pass (Album Review)
There is nothing like a great Emo record to remind you that life sucks and then you die – but you can have some fun along the way, right? Good, cause Can’t Swim have got you covered on all these bases with This Too Won’t Pass, which arrives on Friday, November 16, 2018, via Pure Noise Records.
Getting their official start in 2015, Keansburg, New Jersey’s Can’t Swim have one foot clearly in the past while they whole-heartedly embrace their sonic future. Establishing themselves on the music scene, their debut EP, Death Deserves a Name, arrived in 2016 before the band had even played a single show. Their full-length debut, Fail You Again, arrived a year later. Working hard to build a name for themselves, the boys have been on tour for nearly the past three years straight, sharing stages with the likes of New Found Glory, Creeper, Envy on the Coast, Movements, Have Mercy, Boston Manor, Trash Boat, Microwave, and more. Alumni of the Slamdunk Festival, the band is currently on the road with Trophy Eyes and Seaway.
Time does not heal all wounds – such is the adage behind the band’s second full-length release, This Too Won’t Pass. For the 10-song collection, Can’t Swim – Vocalist/Guitarist Chris LoPorto, Guitarist Mike Sanchez, Drummer Danny Rico, and Bassist Greg McDevitt – sought to explore the struggles that shape us, the pain that does not always better us but often provides a moment of useful clarity. In short, the album is a search for catharsis, one that finds the band exploring all facets of emotional heft.
This Too Won’t Pass begins with the drums of “What Have We Done,” a catchy Pop-Punk offering that opens the collection on a high-energy note, microphone swinging. The upbeat melancholia and controlled anger of a failed relationship encompass the bass-heavy beats of “My Queen” (“If ignorance is bliss then why’d you ask?”), a sonic harkening back to Warped Tour 2003 – which, in truth, would describe this entire collection of delicious old-school Pop-Punk/Emo-ness. Break out your heart and get ready to wear it on your sleeve!
Continuing to prove this fact, Can’t Swim go full-on Alkaline Trio on the verses of the deliciously infectious, candid confessional “Sometimes You Meet the Right People at the Wrong Time,” a must-stream track that will make you an instant fan. And that title? Spot-on, boys! They follow this up with driving rocker “Hell In A Handbasket,” where LoPorto pleads “Wake me up, I’m not getting younger,” as he attempts to escape the miseries of life.
Dedicated to the band’s longtime friend and manager, who is due to become a dad at the same time as Can’t Swim birth this album, “Congratulations, Christopher Hodge” goes full-on Pop-Punk in honor of our rabid appetites for tragedy and quickly fading trends. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” indeed. Next, glittering guitar work meanders around a steady drum beat on the down-tempo bop of “Malicious 444” (“Hope is nothing but a virus”), which turns melancholia to frustrated anger with some subtle Screamo moments.
They go for a melodic march on “Not the Way It Was,” a gang vocal-filled oath to never giving up hope that is a guaranteed sing-along at their live shows. While “Amnesia 666” is initially soporific before exploding into a full-on frenetic, poppy punk beat in the name of reflection, they opt to layer their sound for the plea of “Daggers,” a look at defying loneliness despite the complicated double-edges of relationships.
Not an ode to ugly arthropods, “Winter of Cicada” is a delicately meandering ballad that laments the loss of a young relationship. In fact, it is LoPorto’s relationship with his beautiful ex – who appeared on the album covers for both Death Deserves a Name and Fail You Again – that is placed into the spotlight here, lyrically. In many ways, it’s a typical Emo bloodletting: a beautifully emotional look back at youthful misgivings that will strike a chord with many who have deep-seated romantic regrets.
Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio, The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World. Hell, Senses Fail and Finch. These bands could easily compose the musical influences for This Too Won’t Pass, an album that is mired in (largely) early 2000s Emo. The irony of Can’t Swim’s sound is such that younger fans will find this to be something brilliantly ‘new,’ while those of us who were around back then will love the journey back in time to the sound that owned our hearts then – and can still do so now. Full of bloody raw heart and candid soul, This Too Won’t Pass is the reminder that time does not always heal our wounds and, sometimes, it’s perfectly okay to clutch an old Polaroid and cry. Much like life, it’s beautiful but it hurts! Very excited for this band’s future, Cryptic Rock give Can’t Swim’s This Too Won’t Pass 4 of 5 stars.