Swimming Bell, Charlie Review
by Donald Rumpert
Charlie marks a significant milestone in Swimming Bell’s discography, reflecting an evolution from Schottland’s previous release, 2019’s Wild Sight. The album, released in 2024 under Adventure Club Records & Permanent Records, delves deep into the genres of Folk Pop and Indie Folk, drawing inspiration from a plethora of artists, ranging from Jeff Tweedy to Beck. Schottland’s ability to infuse her introspective lyrics with intricate melodies while paying homage to the mid-70s Laurel Canyon sound is particularly noteworthy. Led by LA-via-NYC artist Katie Schottland, Swimming Bell presents ten new tracks for our listening and vocal appreciation.
“Take It Easy” is a quintessential Americana waltz, characterized by its flowing and catchy melody. The track’s layers of vocals enhance its fullness and amplify its emotional resonance. The meticulous production ensures that each instrument is distinctly heard, contributing to the overall harmony of the song. The electric guitar solo, adorned with effects, adds a swirling, emotional depth, seamlessly blending with the beautifully layered vocal harmonies that follow.
“For Al and Lee,” a tribute to Schottland’s friends, Allison and Lee, is a fine example of her songwriting skills. The track is marked by its light, lilting alt-country feel, with acoustic strumming guitars laying a gentle foundation. The lyrics strike a delicate balance between hopeful optimism and a sense of wistfulness, reflecting the song’s theme of enduring friendship and growth. The song’s development is particularly engaging, with added backing vocals and fuller instrumentation that build up to a rich, satisfying conclusion.
“Fly Like An Eagle” captures the essence of catchy folk-rock with its strong melody. The guitar bends and fills are strategically placed, adding an emotional layer that complements Schottland’s intricate vocal harmonies. The song’s structure and the solid guitar solo further enhance its appeal, making it a standout track on the album.
In conclusion, Charlie by Swimming Bell is a collection of songs that takes you on a journey through emotions and experiences, encapsulating the spirit of adaptation and creative perseverance. It serves as a heartfelt reminder of the importance of finding love and connection, even in adversity. Katie Schottland’s singing on Charlie promises to inspire and solidify her position as a significant artist in the singer-songwriter music landscape.