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It is always sunny in Philadelphia

The Swimmers - Fighting Trees
(Mad Dragon Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 18, 2008
The Swimmers

Review by Tony Bonyata

Let's face it, ever since The Beatles delivered their magnum opus, Revolver, forty-two years ago, creative, well-produced, left-of-center pop has been, pretty much, played-out. But when executed properly, as on The Swimmers' forthcoming debut full-length, Fighting Trees, it still has the power to delight after all these years.

With an apparent penchant for the aforementioned Fabs, as well as other '60s act such as The Zombies and The Beach Boys, the Philly-based rock quartet still couldn't sound more in-step with the times. Their bright indie-pop-rock not only reflects the more modern sounds of acts like The Shins, Spoon and, perhaps more than any other, The New Pornographers, and with an attitude and sound that's positively brimming with sunshine, it's hard not to immediately fall in its sway.

Frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey coined the band's moniker after author John Cheever's surrealistic 1964 short story "The Swimmer" (later made into the even more surreal 1968 movie of the same name featuring Burt Lancaster in the title role), but unlike the tale of a once well-to-do East Coast suburbanite losing everything - including his own memory and sanity - this band combs their own respective Philadelphia suburbs to come up with only shiny, happy vibes. Sweet harmonies abound through these twelve infectious, hook-filled tracks that are led by guitars with spirited restraint and jubilant piano lines. And with the inclusion of Yutzy-Burkey's comforting vocal delivery (in a similar vein as The New Pornographers' AC Newman) it makes for an altogether pleasing package.

While Fighting Trees won't reach stores through regular distribution channels until March, the entire album is currently streaming on The Swimmers' website: So what are you waiting for... log on and dive in!

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