I have a recurring dream in which I, clad in red short shorts and sporting an orange flotation device, am running along a bright seashore in the hot midday sun. My legs feel as though they are made of mahogany and I am running in slow motion (as I do in real life) whilst the world zips past me in a blur of bikinis and beach balls stretched into long flashes of primary colours.
Yes, I have just described a David Hasselhoff power fantasy dream and no, I did not expect to ever hear something that weirdly specific expressed musically for the world to hear. Yet somehow Swimming Tapes have done just that with new song Set the Fire. Inspired by the genre-defining Wild Nothing, the band play retro-sounding dreamy guitar pop; a sort of slow-motion Beach Boys surf vibe coupled with late eighties shoegaze that jangles and reverberates effortlessly.
Set the Fire couples an earworm of a riff with vocals so subtle that they almost become percussion. They sit low, way back in the mix and allow the guitars to do the talking before rising to the fore in the giant-sized choruses. If you’re having a barbecue this weekend, get this on the playlist and leave those tiny red shorts behind; you (I) won’t ever need them again.
Words by David Sealey