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The best kept secret in music


"The Daily Vault - Review of Swandive's CD"




Independent Release, 2004

Review by: Vish Iyer

Originally published: March 31, 2006

When track one -- "And You Are" -- of Swandive's debut effort Something To Melt The Silence, begins with a mellifluously catchy piano-hook, you are almost certain to guess it's Coldplay doing another of its "Trouble"/ "Clocks"/ "Speed Of Sound" ballads again and are ready to shake your head in dismay at Chris Martin and his gang.

But on the realization that it is not Coldplay and is in fact a little-known band named Swandive, the disappointment at Coldplay turns into utter disgust at this no-name imitator. That is, until the track progresses and you realize that this obscure act from San Diego is actually not bad after all, and furthermore, when the song reaches a moment of brilliance as singer/guitarist Scott Spick does an amazing Jeff Buckley falsetto during the track's final chorus, you find the hair on the back of your neck standing up.

Moments of such brilliance come in plentitude as the record progresses, and at the end the album leaves you completely in awe. This is what makes Swandive so special. The first track is enough to indicate that they are heavily inspired by Coldplay, the thought of which brings queasiness, and though there is nothing new in Swandive's kind of music, the beauty of this act is its superb musicianship and song arrangements that are in a league of its own.

The music mixes the cragginess of American alt-folk sound with mushiness of contemporary Brit-pop, and Spick is a breathtaking singer, matching the near-impossibility of Jeff Buckley. Great artists like Buckley can be inspiring, but to sound like him needs really serious talent, which show in Spick's high-pitched maniacal yells ("Mercy Begins" and "Fringe Glider"), or drunken sexiness ("Drifting Slowly" and "Ana"), or just plain sexiness ("Push, Pull…Choke" and "You'll Never Know"). With the range of notes that Spick hits, and his effortless ability to reach them, he might well be one of the most charismatic singers in rock today; this is not an overstatement.

The only concern with this album is that a couple of tracks tend to be too much like a Buckley or a Coldplay track. For instance, the aforementioned "Mercy Begins" sounds like a copy of Buckley's "Grace," from its psychedelic guitar hook to its mad eruption towards the end. Also, the riff on "Meaning Of It All" is all too close to Coldplay's "In My Place." However, these cuts are so wonderfully done that they are as heavenly as the rest of the record.

Something To Melt The Silence is a fantastic debut effort. It is a pleasure listening to music so intense, simple, complex, beautiful, sexy, and edgy at the same time. This is music with depth, straight from the heart, honest and earnest. Indeed, a great masterpiece by an amazingly talented act.

[For more information on Swandive, visit www.swandive.us]


- The Daily Vault

"The Underground Spotlight - Swandive"


Something To melt the Silence
2004 Unsigned

Grade: A



I got this CD in the mail months ago and it got buried under a pile of stuff. So, needless to say that when I found this disc I felt bad. I felt bad because I had told the guys from Swandive that I would review their CD months ago, and after hearing this disc I felt bad for myself, because I could have been enjoying this project for a while. Well, I will say it was worth the wait; Swandive has a smooth and delicate approach to their songwriting and every song on this disc is stellar. Swandive has a nice little blend of jazz influenced music and folk type lyrics. “And You Are”, “You’ll Never Know”, and “Mercy Begins” are all standout songs that might remind listeners of such artists as Ryan Adams, Chris Issak, or John Mayer. This effort by Swandive is well worth checking out.

- Entertainment Nutz

"SDMM Review - Swandive"


Posted by Jed Gottlieb
Cd:Something to Melt the Silence

Bands: Swandive

“DESCRIBING MUSIC IS LIKE DESCRIBING LOVE,” says guitarist Tom Amador. It’s damn near impossible to do.

“Everybody’s experience is different,” says Amador. “I could tell you that I’m falling in love with this beautiful woman, but love is something you understand based on experiences. Saying ‘I’m falling in love’ doesn’t necessarily reflect what I’m feeling.”

Maybe Amador’s inability to describe music—and love—stems from the strange, uncommon sound his band, San Diego’s Swandive, creates. If Amador played guitar for Unwritten Law or Blink-182 it really wouldn’t be that hard. “We play Southern California pop-punk,” he would say, and we’d all understand. But Swandive’s music doesn’t much resemble their San Diego peers’ music.

Not that it’s difficult to see where Swandive came from. Their LP debut, Something To Melt The Silence, can be dissected song by song. “Drifting Slowly” is a marriage of Radiohead’s guitar crunch and Jeff Buckley’s yearning vocals. Amador’s solo on “Meaning of it All” has John Frusciante, “By The Way” quality. And everywhere there are clear nods to Echo & The Bunnymen, Coldplay, and Love And Rockets. One could get obsessed with teasing out all the bands that Swandive mined to build their sound (“Was that some Velvet Underground I heard back there?”), but it’s more fun to just absorb the hard-to-describe sonic textures and admit that everything these days is derivative.

“It’s true that the majority of our influences are coming from the UK and New York,” says vocalist Scott Spick. “But there’s a San Diego twist to our music.”

Spick and Amador agree that they’ve borrowed a lot from dreary north eastern bands, but they also think the sunshine and nice weather have bled into their brooding tunes.

“From a songwriting aspect, the San Diego scene offers a blatant juxtaposition to our music,” says Amador. “But the songs are starting to reflect the lifestyle in San Diego. We can have a somber emo tune with a very positive message.”

While Swandive have managed to embrace both sunshine and gloomy post-punk, it is too early to tell if San Diego will embrace Swandive. The band has been around for a couple years, but almost all of 2004 was spent recording the self-financed Something To Melt The Silence. To their credit, Swandive managed to record a polished, professional, well-produced album without the backing of a record label. Now the band hopes to parley the album into a healthy local following.

The band’s had a good start with gigs at the Kensington Club and the Casbah and some local radio play. Their sound makes them stand out, which is both a positive and a negative.

“Being based in San Diego is a blessing and curse,” says Spick. “We are kind of unique, and that’s always a good thing. On the other hand, it’s always nice to be part of a scene where there are a lot more acts you are compatible with.”

Swandive are still at the beginning—the album’s only been out a month, and they’re still putting together summer tour dates. But they’re at a good starting place. If San Diegans are willing to give an unfamiliar sound a chance, Swandive won’t disappoint. - San Diego Music Matters


In The Fire - EP (2006) in process
Something to Melt the Silence - LP (2004)
Meaning of it All - EP (2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Negotiating through the tedium of daily rituals and confronting the paradoxes of the common experience has been a humbling yet fertile creative forum for Swandive. This is the basis on which Swandive has defined their repertoire of music and song. Swandive posess a truly unique blend of musicianship, artistry & style. Their music, as a reflection of their philosophy, is simple: new ideas come from different ways of thinking. This idea permeates through Swandive's attitude, recordings and live performance. Since forming in late 2003, Swandive has developed an impassioned and energetic live performance that keeps audiences riveted and returning for more. Sustained by a fervent fan base, steady radio support and regular weekend shows this talented ensemble has quickly emerged as a mainstay of the San Diego music scene. Swandive has also remained active by recording their musical and artistic progress. The bands desire to connect with listeners has resulted in the production and publication of two recordings: Meaning of It All (2003) and Something To Melt the Silence (2004). The band is also currently working on their third release to hit record stores by July 2006.

With a strong sense of purpose and an independent spirit Swandive is on course to elevating themselves into the national conversation.