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Various artists

Swim Team 2

It looks like Swim's 'Team' compilations may well become an annual event, and if that's the case then I'm certainly not going to complain. Swim Team #2 offers 19 unreleased or rare tracks from the eclectic London-based label that cross a wide range of genres and styles.

Unbelievably, Swim Team #2 manages to make the first in the series look shoddy by comparison and if there's a duff track lurking, I've still yet to find it.

Once again, label-owners Newman and Spigel feature in a variety of guises. Newman offers tantalising glimpses from the long-awaited solo album with the crunchy Bastard-like guitar rock of Tsunami and the classic Time Will Allow, complete with the first solo Newman vocals in years (albeit in chopped-up/'telephoned' form). Spigel offers a more pop-oriented track with Antimatter, an impressive progression from My Pet Fish, with reversed Hebrew vocals.

Other long-time Swimmers also make an appearance. Silo's Root takes the band's arrangement ideals to the extreme with a typically hypnotic mesh of guitar textures, pulsating bass and metronome drums. Bumpy offers a couple of tracks that show a marked advance from his first outing on Swim Team #1 and certainly wouldn't reveal his very young age to the uninitiated. Symptoms offers two slices of minimal atmospheric sound and Lobe provides the surprisingly poppy November, which rivals Dorain as his best track and bodes well for the forthcoming album.

A handful of new artists also make an appearance. Whereas Dictophone's bubbly, filmic Esc. Meetings and Beatkitten's almost jazz-tinged Bored? impress, Toucaen looks set to become the next Swim standout with an electronic track of breathtaking beauty, seemingly sliding into Lobe's previous space.

As with Swim Team #1, this compilation is being offered for a mere five pounds and only a few of the tracks have previously been released. For twenty notes this would be good value, but for a fiver and with the quality control set so high this really should not be missed.

Craig Grannell (December, 2001)

Cover artwork