a0785362358 65

Swiftumz – Simply The Best (Empty Cellar Records)

Christopher McVicker has used the Swiftumz moniker now for well over a decade, and this third album under the name is the first since 2015. The sunny, C86 jangle within (there’s a phrase that on its own would have me heading to the nearest record shop!) betrays the difficult genesis of the album, a full six years in the making and, it seems, not the easiest spell for McVicker, including as it did bereavement and personal upheaval.

To call the album Simply The Best is to hopefully a sign that McVicker has come out of the other side. Starting with its title track, this album begins like Teenage Fanclub or maybe even their heroes Big Star with a song that sounds comfortingly familiar, a gentle easing into the programme before ‘Unconditional’ takes over and raises the tempo all the way to full-on early The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. There’s some great crunchy guitar from Chris Guthridge to dial down the twee factor and drive the sound onwards.

There’s a lot to be said for making 28 minute long albums (I wholeheartedly approve), and to award over a fifth of the running time to ‘Almost Through’ very much makes it the album’s centrepiece, again there’s some irresistible guitar punctuation here – it goes a little in the direction of Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ (the song) in both its epic nature and those guitar adornments. It’s a really superb piece and not a second too long.

For Bucher’ cranks up the TFC readings again, a dreamily drumless drift into another world before ‘Falling Down’ restores the jangle quotient, even bringing to mind the (hugely underrated) early 18 Wheeler sound. ‘Demoralised’ takes the album in a totally different direction with its thumping percussion and minimal instrumentation but it works really well and acts as a palate cleanser for the closing ‘Finally Through’, a beautifully sunlit, chiming track with lyrics that seem to be laced with relief of at last getting the record over the line.

There’s a real charm and instant likability to Simply The Best – the influences may be quite apparent but the songs are strong and varied and full of hooks – if you like any of those artists mentioned in this review, you will almost certainly find at least something to love here.

Simply The Best is out now on Empty Cellar Records.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.