Swim is an album firmly rooted in all things natural. Since beginning her musical adventure almost 30 years ago, singer-songwriter Alice DiMicele is now on her 13th release and has built up a reputation as a pioneer in environmental folk music.
Throughout the album we’re treated to DiMicele’s thoughts and passions for the organic virtues in life. The opening three tracks set the mood perfectly for what lies ahead with Soul Fly Free a feel-good folk number that soars thanks to some wonderful vocals. It’s the prefect introduction we need, showing her skills as a talented musician with a real knack for crafting a song.
Album highlight is the groovy Old Life Back, a track that rallies against the chemical world. Set to a tune that twists and turns smoothly and brings in the catchiest chorus on the album with the refrain of “frack you / and your natural gas / ain’t nothing natural about that”. It’s this yearning for the simpler life that emanates throughout the album. Because, Swim wants you to reconnect with the environment. It wants to remind the listener that there is a great, big world out there full of wonder.
The album does have a few flaws, unfortunately. The one-two of When Jane Rides Scout and Schoolhouse struggle to make an impact when compared to the rest of Swim. Although When Jane Rides Scout brings a quicker tempo to proceedings, it doesn’t engage as well as other songs do. It’s a shame too, that Schoolhouse overstays its welcome at five-and-a-half minutes – because there is a great three-minute tune in there. Perhaps the album suffers from an unbalanced track-listing if you want to listen to it all the way through, but that certainly shouldn’t put you off.
These flaws are completely forgiven as we enter the final chapter in DiMicele’s album. We are woken up by the fantastic jazzy sounds of title track Swim. It’s a glorious call to arms for people to take control of their own destiny, set to some wonderful brass and synth sounds that bring a real zest to the album. The gorgeous This Love and a cover of the Grateful Dead’s Ripple bring the journey to a casual, joyful close.
Overall, Swim a very enjoyable experience, and also one that is surprisingly rare nowadays. It evokes a passion for life, for love, for the simple moments. It’s a beautiful love-song to nature and one that’s a joy to listen to.