Free Swim’s Paul Coltofeanu is a silly chap, that’s why we like him.
His band Free Swim first came to our attention in 2010 when he sent us their odd, but brilliant, debut EP – Two Hands Is Ok, about a busy man’s attempt to graft on an extra pair of hands to help him cope with his many daily tasks. The releases got even sillier over the years with bromance, the escapades of a Chinese dissident panda as well as antique dealer TV sleuth Lovejoy emerging as further subject matter
Over that time Free Swim has also played live with a bassist in a giant Panda costume and, perhaps most surprisingly, ave taken six years to release their debut album.
For this collection Paul has enlisted Free Swim regular and long time friend David Knight, who over their EPs has contributed some marvellous spoken word segments. The pair for years have also arranged “album club” nights where they drink wine and air drum through albums from start to finish. This album is very much in keeping with their friendship, as the pair take in a host of new issues from internet reviewers (I guess, like me), Youtube sensations, the bits of hair that pop out of Beano character Billy Whizz’s head and even Everton legend Neville Southall’s magnificent moustache.
But don’t go thinking that Paul and his mate David are only having a laugh. Care has been spent in production and the music here is excellent, with Paul’s vocals and arrangements deservedly earning comparisons with Super Furry Animals, albeit with a few nods to The Kinks, Half Man Half Biscuit and King Missile along the way.
Opener, Discuss at Great Length Very Interesting Things, is typical Super Furry Animals-style indie pop, that emerges as fully Free Swim when David starts recounting an unhealthy obsession with Southall’s ‘tache.
And so the world of Free Swim opens up with The Slingshot Manoeuvre in Apollo 13 taking in cosmic guitar chords and Billy Whizz’s hairdo and third track Self Appointed Genius taking aim at people like me, sitting by keyboards, giving hard working bands marks out of ten.
The pair’s air drumming exploits get a nod on There’s Room in My Bass Drum for You and there’s a political resurrection thriller going down in The British Prime Minister Has A Secret.
Best of all though is Do You Want Some” (Cause I’ll Give It Ya), which recounts the ludicrous rise to fame of tiny builder Gordon Hill who became a Youtube star for flying off the handle for no reason during a football match.
This debut album ends with a trip to hell on A Bit Of Hell Is Worth It For a Lifetime of Treats where gobby Gordon returns to take a deserved place among the demons.
For six years now we’ve been banging on about the glory of Free Swim, who may, or may not be pleased to see that we’ve given them considerably more out of ten than the self appointed geniuses usually dish out.
by Joe Lepper
Free Swim – Life Time of Treats is available to download for free here.