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WE REVIEW THE NEW SINGLE FROM COLD WATER SWIMMERS – WERE YOU EVEN THERE

For the first time in 18 months, Cold Water Swimmers are releasing new music. Which for followers of the rougher side of indie is particularly noteworthy.

The band’s debut album – Holiday at the Secret Lake – with its sombre post-punk riffs and strutting vocals – caught the interest of Louder than War, who named the record their ninth best of 2021. Either side of it were albums by Squid and Self Esteem, so the band were in impressive company.

With a sophomore release scheduled for 2023, the year begins with the release of ‘Were You Even There’ – and this first taste of what that album will offer suggests that the band may deliver a slight change of pace.

That’s not to say it’ll be a vast departure from Holiday at the Secret Lake. But ‘Were You Even There’ is replacing the post-punk, Mark E Smith-inspired vocal inflections of songs like ‘Love is Insane’ with a warm, Britpop-influenced aesthetic.

Yet the biggest praise I can award this song is not a comparison to Oasis or Blur – it sounds like neither – as the. band carve out their own take on this sound. The yearning chorus cries out – ‘were you even there?’ – while verses feature lyrics like ‘I took your love and I threw it away/and I did that everyday’.

The bleakness plays out over darkly sentimental instrumentation. It’s Britpop for an updated and divisive landscape. Cold Water Swimmers have transitioned strongly and excitingly into their second era.