milk. Reviews: Swim Deep and the Magic Gang

Article by Louise Bray November 13, 2015

Credit: Louise Bray


By day, it might not be surprising to find the Trinity Centre in Bristol in a spell of bingo madness or active in something involving ‘community’ or ‘arts’. But by night, this renovated church in Lawrence Hill, becomes something altogether very different. The Trinity transforms into a beacon of Bristol’s music scene with a surprising history of hitting the new wave genres. The venue, having housed the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Gorillaz and Half Moon Run, tonight plays host to a fresh collective of indie bands.

The Magic Gang are an understated yet energetic band, their track No Fun has the attractive tone of a husky, nineties pop track, the muse and lead part in their performance being the classic guitar riff. The band are saddling the genre of new wave retro, with pitchy sound and grainy pops, She Won’t Ghost is a track that makes their faux-nineties nostalgia charming.

The leading band of the night were Brummie boys Swim Deep, headed by lead singer Austin Williams and made up of Tom Higgins, Zachary Robinson, Cavan McCarthy and James Balmont. Describing themselves as ‘Birmingham boys making sun-kissed noise,’ the band have been quickly building a name for themselves since releasing their second album Mothers. Their music roams from acid house to beach house, producing finely cut psychedelia and tracks laced with their trademark of tantric, beach grunge.

The band’s entrance was suitably melodramatic, with streaming white lights that outlined Williams and his tambourine, accompanied by a track that sounded suspiciously like the theme song of Jurassic Park. The performance did not disappoint, their hypnotic indie pop had the audience swaying to their hazy, sugar-and-smoke vocals ‘Don’t just dream in your sleep it’s just lazy’ (Honey).

Williams, wearing his support act’s merch, could be mistaken for Rushmore’s Max Fischer as he danced, slightly awkwardly, on stage. He whipped off his beret in a frenzy of drum and bass and tipped his wiry body into the audience for a short crowdsurf. Swim Deep kept up a feverish pace with tracks like Namaste and electronic eighties-inspired Fueiho Boogie; by the end of the set Williams had his shirt off and had begun a manic maraca-shaking.

Surrounded by an abundance of baggy, acid-wash nylon shirts, in a venue suited to community discos, it felt like Trinity had teleported itself into the music scene a couple of decades back. With heady sounds moulded by yesteryear, its music acts followed suit in mood and music, building a fervent atmosphere that carried the whole night through.


Find The Magic Gang’s music on soundcloud.com/themagicgang

To find out Swim Deep’s live dates head to www.swim-deep.co.uk


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