Album Review – Gloom / Bloom by Community Swimming Pool (2021) (ZTapes)


With critically acclaimed releases from the likes of Beach Vacation, Rapt, Lentamente, Orchard Mantis and the find of the year, Swiss Portrait, already nestling in their back catalogue for 2021, it is fair to say that the Slovakian based,        Z Tapes label, has had yet another stellar year !
Community Swimming Pool, the solo project of a Glaswegian, multi instrumentalist who simply refers to himself as Bmac (incidentally he is the guitarist for Swiss Portrait in live performances) is the latest example of the label getting everything oh so very right, by releasing an album that excels both musically and lyrically.
From a musical perspective, there is a constant sense of melancholy and a matter of fact emotionality, that fosters a sense of resigned acceptance of the futility of a failing relationship and an underlying essence that hints at the feeling of worthlessness that can be associated with those in a depressive state.
The worthlessness is expressed in the the intense, piercing, jangled riffs of Be Your Man, that augments the expression of a troubled mind, as the artist opines the fact he may be the lesser half of the relationship in the following verses:
oh baby, i hate to take your money
i never wanted anything like that
i only wanted to take you out
let’s build a house or build a home
which one is the cheapest?
i swear i’ll find a real job, and get my life together
and maybe i’ll learn to drive
This sense of not being good enough, or at least not quite deserving of his partner’s love, is also see in You:
i’ve been feeling like i’m kind of a let down
you know you feel it too
you’ve been seeing all the things that i can’t get right
and i can’t be there for that much longer
Despite the desperation of the above, that hints at the need to stay within a relationship that perhaps adds meaning to his life, there is always a lyrical undercurrent that explicitly explores the notion that the artist is no longer in love and knows he needs to find the strength to leave his partner.
The dulcet riffs and perfect mix between lo-fi, gaze laden production and just enough jangled riff commerciality, somehow feels the perfect vehicle for Here We Go Gain, which sums of the inevitability and resignation about where the relationship is heading:
but here we go again, we’re arguing
and here we go again
our love has slipped through our hands and i
will not ever forget, the look in her eyes
as i watched her heart break
i don’t know if i like where this is going
we used to laugh and hold each other then
now all we do is stare at telephones in hands
there’s no trust in you and me
— you’re unattractive, you’re unattractive
you’re so obsessive, you’re so obsessive
when you act like this, when you act like this
Of course, not everyone is going to spend time pouring through lyrics like I have on this occasion, after all there is a whole generation of streamers simply looking for playlist fodder.
However, even this is catered for in Gloom / Bloom with tracks like the superlative standouts of  Upside Down, Number One and The Way You Wanna Be Held, thriving on the sheer beauty of isolated, chiming riffs and subtle pop inflections.
This act deserves to be in the homes and ears of as many discerning music fans as possible and I have a feeling that this album will realise such critical acclaim…help this quest by grabbing a limited edition cassette or vinyl LP, here.





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