Florida-based power duo Cave Of Swimmers trace their roots to an early friendship developed in 1999 by Guillermo “GE” Perez and Arturo “Toro” Garcia when they were both only 15 and still in fourth grade in their native Caracas, Venezuala. The duo relocated to Miami in the early 2000s and continued to make music together, releasing their debut album two years ago – an opus which gained them attention of no less a figure than former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, who proclaimed them to be “top-notch, naturally gifted players, truly unique in their creativity and execution” and adding that “they warrant a new sound classification”.
Now, I’m one of those reviewers who hates classification of any band, and also one who is a great admirer of acts determined to plough their own furrow rather than merely act as often pale imitations of imitations of what has gone before, and so it was a refreshing change to enter the world of COS and discover their if not unique or innovative but nevertheless impressively conjoined amalgam of styles.
‘Reflection’ is one of those releases which beggars the question as to whether it is an album or an EP: with four songs (five if you count a repeated, edited version of the first track appended to the end), it would initially seem to fall into the latter category – but, at almost 35 minutes, it also is slightly longer than a good many albums. Whatever its designation, it is an offering which is epic in both its feel and its ambition – and succeeds in delivering in both departments, with its fusion of classic rock, doom, psyched-out trance-like prog and even nu-metal (the latter is especially obvious in Perez’s Serj Tankian-esque vocal delivery – right down his precise enunciation).
Opener ‘The Prince Of The Power Of The Air’ summarizes the band’s interesting fusion of sounds, switching effortlessly from a rich Seventies-infused psychedelic groove into a Nineties stoner mien via an Eighties NWOBHM-edged guitar harmony. Despite it’s ten-plus minutes, it also has a sparkling immediacy which grabs you and draws you into its richness. ‘The Skull’ is darker and denser, built on elongated instrumental passages, which roll and wrap around you, and characterized by an almost chanted, haunting vocal which echoes around the song’s twisted harmony. ‘Still Running’ is the purest rock song of the collection, with its frenetic pace and thrumming main riff, interjecting with short, disharmonic stabs, its Arabesque jazz-fuelled mid-section reflecting the diversity of the album’s overall projection while once again blending effortlessly into the over arching energy of the tune. The closing title track possesses a thumping groove which once again is interlaced with and interlocuted by sweeping progressive passages, with the guitars ducking and diving around the huge, bottom-ended bass riff to weave joyous, uplifting passages of spaced out gloriousness; it is also the only instrumental presented herewith, which allows the tune to freely express itself and stretch its creators’ not inconsiderable musical muscles to the full.
A beautiful, enrapturing album, best enjoyed with a superior Shiraz and the lights turned down low.
The Prince Of The Power Of The Air / The Skull / Still Running / Reflection / The Prince Of The Power Of The Air (Promo Edit)
Recommended listening: ‘The Prince Of The Power Of The Air’
‘Reflection’ is self-released and out now.