Written by Daniela Ruíz
Can’t Swim, the emo band from New Jersey, are back with their third record, “Change of Plans”. Coming two years after “This Too Won’t Pass”, their previous album, the band had barely caught a break, staying on the road and releasing several songs and EPs, including two in the last year, which gave us glimpses at the direction that the band was taking.
This all culminates in “Change of Plans”, which takes them to new places both lyrically and sonically. The thesis of it is expressing self love as accountability, which finds the band reflecting about the trajectory of their lives and about how we all play a part in shaping our future and we must recognize the responsibility we have in our own lives.
Sound wise, it mixes the characteristic emo, rock sound of Can’t Swim with traces of EDM and more electronic sounds that started peaking on their last EP “Someone Who Isn’t Me”, presenting something fresh both to old timers and listeners who have just discovered the band.
The record starts with “Standing in the Dark”, which presents the record with haunting vocals by singer Chris LoPorto and dark, wobbly synths before bringing the whole band on board. The introduction of loopy piano melodies in the bridge bring a lot of color to the track and the subtle organs mixing with guitars on the choruses bring the song to a whole new level, painting a clear picture of what we should expect on the journey ahead.
Then comes”To Heal at All, You Have to Feel it All”, a more dynamic, straight punk song, featuring distorted muted guitars in mix with distorted bass before blasting on the chorus with the help of LoPorto’s emotional vocals, which often incorporates screams which pierce the track, shining over the dynamics of the instrument.
“Set The Room Ablazes” comes alive from the first second, starting with a plucky distorted guitar before an eye-piercing scream which introduces us to the spine of the track. Mike Sanchez’s guitar is what shines all over the song, with fast riffs that appear from front to track helping the song move, the whole song, being so fast paced and aggressive, bringing someone who’s full of himself down to earth.
Next we have “Sense of Humor”, which features calmed, more relaxed vocals on the verses just to explode with the rest of the band in fast, loud choruses that will get the listener slamming their head, more with Can’t Swim’s incredible ability at crafting big, energetic breaks.
“10 years too late” talks about thinking where you come from and where will life take you. About taking the steps to be in the place where you really want to be, reflecting the accountability topic of the album. Being the first track in the record to really reflect how your actions affect the course that your life has and will take.
After that we have “Deliver Us More Evil”, one of the more down-beat songs on the journey, which touches on the realization of things going down the drain and the will to give up, comparing the feeling to religion and the images of a Savior, giving the lyrics and extra layer of depth and heaviness.
The religious theme carries to “Opposite to God”, which compares the path of the singer to hell and the seven deadly sins, being a metaphor to how all faith is lost and surrender feeling almost certain, and touching on how what you did when you where young will stay with you for the rest of your life in one way or another.
“Better Luck Next Time” comes all guns blazing, with screams and big, melodic and fuzzy guitars, continuing with the energy from the previous tracks and the desperate feeling of being out of your way, talking about how, no matter what, thing always seem to go south and how every fall hurts harder than the last.
“Careless.anxious.neurotic.Tired” brings the energy a bit down by exchanging the walls of distortion by gothier guitar arrangements, featuring more delay and reverb than fuzz, which fit the topic of the end of a relationship to perfection, painting a whole new feeling, adding to the record’s arsenal.
Next we have “Altamonte Explode”, bringing a new flavor to the album. Changing the screaming and overall loudness for a more pop-punk sound that flows in a totally different way from what we had heard so far, prioritizing catchiness over fuzz, bringing to mind the calm before the storm, aligning with the topic of the song of just getting rid of everything and coming to the brink of an emotional explosion.
To round things off, comes “Everyone That I Know, I Hate” which, again, brings an entirely new sound, featuring a lot more chorus-y, catchy little arpeggios all throughout the track and shifting the ways in which the band try to get the feeling to the listener, combining the heavier breaks of the earlier tracks towards the end of the song, while achieving to not destroy the new vibe, ending things off with a loopy riff, fading into the distance finished by the same melody in a debilitated piano.
Throughout the project, Can’t Swim keeps adding things to keep the listener engaged, not completely changing their formula or their sound, but bringing new sounds and topics into the table, creating a heavy, emotional ride that’s better experienced in one sitting while keeping every track enjoyable as a standalone listen.
It’s a soul crushing record that does a fantastic job at keeping things fresh for fans of the band while being distinct in the whole scene to attract a lot of new audiences that will be delighted with this absolute triumph.
“Change of Plans” is out now on all major platforms. Check it out and tell us what you think @lgndsoftmrw!