Fail You Again, the debut record from New Jersey natives Can’t Swim, is an exemplary display of punk-rock, filled with heavy guitars and intense drumming.
“We Won’t Sleep” was released as the lead single. With honest and compelling lyrics, lead singer Chris LoPorto provides harsh vocals that border on yelling but it matches the roughness of their tone.
The album falters on originality for some tracks, with a repetitive nature in the overall sound, but each individual tracks has its differences that make up for this. “$50,000,000” is a fairly generic rock song, but with a short guitar solo in which LoPorto quiets his voice, the contrast to the otherwise heavy song powerfully puts this moment on display.
With three guitarists, this is the most noticeable aspect of the record. “Quitting” is one of the more relaxed songs and it prominently focuses on the guitars with some light drumming mixed in, courtesy of Andrea Morgan, the latest addition to Can’t Swim.
The power and emotion in LoPorto’s voice is evident throughout, whether he is singing softer or belting out the lyrics, which he does in “Amy.” His voice fluctuates between the two ranges, as it does in some other tracks, and it really fits with the variation in instruments.
At times, the lyrics feel rather generic, but there are a few songs where they really strike the listener. “Stranger” is one of the better tracks on the record and it was released as more of a stand-alone single last November.
The bridge showcases the contrast of heavy and calm vocals with LoPorto singing “And you wonder how you’d ever fathomed how you would be content / Would the places that you traveled to someday be filled with friends / That you threw away back home and said you’d find them all again / Would I just be just like them / A replacement in the end” which gradually gets more intense as he sings.
The guitars and drums are the most prevalent instruments and do an excellent job of supporting LoPorto’s vocal style, whether it be more of a yelling type or softer, solo vocals. The range of sounds is somewhat recurrent throughout, but in general, the contrast is solid and provides for an excellent record, never mind a debut.
Can’t Swim released a video a week before the album was set to drop that detailed LoPorto’s life, progression with the band, and how this album came to be. The video was such an open look into his life and makes the record all the more enjoyable. The listener is able to better understand where some of the tracks come from; songs like “Kid” that are just as honest and vulnerable.
Favorite tracks: Quitting, Stranger, Kid
Album release date: March 10, 2017
Written by: Kathryn Leeber