Album Review: Can’t Swim – Death Deserves A Name

California-based punk label Pure Noise Records capped off 2015 by introducing a rookie band ready for the major leagues: Can’t Swim of Keansburg, New Jersey.

Can’t Swim is a marriage of 90’s alternative punk with today’s post-hardcore, though there is no catch-all term for the music they make. The four-piece is not afraid to break genre boundaries and identify solely as a rock band on their social media sites. On February 26th the band is set to debut their 5-track DIY EP, Death Deserves A Name, and from there set out on their first leg of live shows, supporting Four Year Strong and Light Years.

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In this digital age it’s no wonder a do-it-yourself band could be signed to an established label almost upon inception. Can’t Swim have the chops and are ready to take the stage outside of their small Jersey town. The unproduced sound the band hatched will transfer well on tour and sets the band apart from others who need extra assistance during the recording process. Drummer Danny Rico recorded and engineered the tracks in his own studio space, and through some networking the EP landed on a desk at Pure Noise Records. Some buzz has been generated about Can’t Swim over social media, but the band is set to erupt in 2016.

Can’t Swim is addicting from the get-go. The tracks on Death Deserves A Name could easily all be described as “headbangers.”From first listen fans find will themselves shaking their head “yes” and rooting for the group. Each tune is a different book from the same library, but they all mesh well around the idea of lost love. The first single off the album, “Your Clothes”, offers a heightened, amped-up look at a person who has an uncontrollable passion for another not in the same place. The short breakdown in the song’s cusp erupts with energy that leaks into the next tune.

The band dropped a music video to accompany the song, featuring our first look at the Can’t Swim as a band playing together. The vocals are raw, imperfect, and almost hysteric-in the most honest way. In an interview with Noisey, frontman Christopher LoPorto confessed that he doesn’t have much experience singing or playing guitar, but he was able to figure things out by emulating music from the 90’s and 2000’s that he’s a fan of. LoPorto’s style is not overdeveloped and he isn’t chained down by a process repeated for years, thus we’re presented with very organic vocals.

The album progresses into a jab at a person who has changed for the worst. “Way It Was” poses a question about the reality one lives in when consumed by a one-sided relationship. The lyrical content in the song’s chorus, “Do I believe what you said/Was it all true?” will be perfect for fans to scream when they get the chance to experience Can’t Swim live. “Right Choice” answers the last track with the pain of losing everything and is the album’s most powerful tune, with chilling lyrics like “What can I take to stop from feeling?” The song has an introspective interlude, like the punch in an empty gut that signifies an emotional breakdown. “Come Home” is the desperate plea that follows, when you cannot come to terms with giving up hope.

Can’t Swim close out the album with the title track, “Death Deserves A Name”, that takes it down to an ambient, coffeeshop-rock pace. LoPorto’s voice softens to match up with the song’s lyrical content about the love being dead and gone, with scars as the remaining memory. The band as a whole matches the song’s feeling, playing a very chilling melody. The album concludes on a sad note, leaving the listener longing for more.

It’s almost like Can’t Swim is the monster hiding under every punk kid’s bed, one that nobody has been able to find until now. It’s a relief the band has finally come out from the dark to satisfy our cravings for such a sound. The band is sure to fill a void in the punk/alternative scene with an honesty and flexibility that is successful with today’s listeners. Kids who enjoy more pop-punk and emo rock styles will be joined by those who haunt the heavier hardcore scene to crowd clubs for Can’t Swim.

 Can’t Swim Will Have No Trouble Staying Afloat.

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