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Having turned heads as far back as 2017 with their debut single Tastes Like Money and follow-up 2 Kids, Bath-formed alt-pop outfit Swimming Girls unveiled their first EP proper earlier this summer. From the goth-pop of I Don’t Wanna Get To Heaven to the synth-balladry of Holy Place, the Existential Fears EP sees the quartet – led by Vanessa Gimenez – stride confidently forward. As they prepare to take to the BBC Introducing Stage at the iconic Reading & Leeds Festival, to perform at Glasgow’s Tenement Trial, and join Vistas on their October 2019 headline tour, meet the dark alt-pop four-piece swimming towards success.
Swimming Girls are former Bath Spa University songwriting collaborators Vanessa Gimenez (vocals), Jay Oz Bell (guitar), and Roo Primrose (keyboard). The four-piece is rounded off by drummer Max Blunos, who completed the line-up a short while later.
Driven by synth, guitars and often unrelenting drums, Swimming Girls create goth-tinged alternative pop, simultaneously dark, moody and danceable. With one EP and a handful of singles to their name, the band have crafted a broad sound with an unmistakably unique stamp. They join a small group of bands expertly modernising ’80s tropes, not least former touring partners Pale Waves, yet inject edgy pop inspired by the likes of Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
Swimming Girls represent, both in name and sound, succeeding in adversity. “We want to make a statement,” the band affirm, reaching a decision on their name as a direct reaction to guitarist Jay’s anxiety. “There’s vulnerability in our music but none of our songs are about being defeated. The overall theme of our music is of being strong. Being a Swimming Girl is about being the best version of yourself – being able to swim even if you’re carrying baggage.”
The four-piece began life at Bath Spa University, with Vanessa, Jay and Roo bonding over their desire to break the mould during a songwriting class. Drummer Max Blunos joined Swimming Girls a little later, having offered his services in place of the drum machine the band had been using during early shows. As a four-piece they attracted the attention of Yucatan Records, and subsequently major players on national radio, not least Huw Stephens, Greg James and Alice Levine.
They released their debut single in 2017, the Lorde-esque Tastes Like Money. Self-proclaiming key influences as The Cure, Cyndi Lauper and Lana Del Rey (among others), they’ve evolved into an audible concoction of all, offering dark dream-pop with an upbeat pop edge. Existential Fears marks their most polished release to date, with driving drums, hearty synths and ethereal guitar-work, all bolstered by Vanessa Gimenez’ confidently soft vocals and the honest lyrics they impart.
More Essential Tracks
Pray In Silence
Tastes Like Money
Where can I see Swimming Girls live?
At the time of writing, Swimming Girls will be appearing on the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds Festival. They are also set to take to Tenement Trial in Glasgow on Saturday 12 October 2019 shortly before they join Vistas on their headline UK run through the rest of the month and into early November.
Find tickets for forthcoming Swimming Girls live dates at TicketWeb.uk.