Record review: How to Swim – ‘Bacterium’

Self-described as an orchestral pop-rock band How to Swim have been on the go now for over a decade, with the group forming in Glasgow in 2001.


The group is working on their latest album, Niagarama, the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Retina (More Fun Than a Vat of Love)’.

Their nine members churn out catchy pop records through guitar, strings, brass and keyboards and ‘Bacterium’ is a fine example of this fairly unusual style of music.

How To Swim’s latest single kicks off like the beginning of a ska-track; choppy brass, drums and guitar somehow lead to a Franz Ferdinand styled stomp along with the melancholic lyrics: “I watched her grow into a woman…and then when she was grown I watched her walk away” sung admirably by guitarist Gregor Barclay.

Throw in an intriguing guitar solo, a touch of traditional “ahhs” from the backing vocals, a sprinkling of xylophone and you’ve got the gist of how this intriguing song has been crafted together section by section.

We await Niagarama with hungry ears.


Words: Ben Bookless


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