It’s a bit disingenuous to pretend the recent boom in beach-lovin’ rock units is a new development — pretty sure surf rock has been tickling Japanese musicians minds since The Ventures first came to the country (look at this!) — but it has certainly seemed a bit more prevalent in the Japanese indie-rock scene as of late. Teen Runnings (formerly Friends) are probably the best example of the style, taking shoreside rock and adding a layer of dissonance to rupture the implied nostalgia. They weren’t alone in that sound — Alfred Beach Sandal takes it to wonkier places, while Never Young Beach are more straightforward catchy (with the fuzz less a stylistic choice and more a “this is what we can do” limitation). And that’s just scratching the surface.
Where, then, does Kyoto outfit The Full Teenz’ “Swim! Swim!” fall in the gnarly pecking order? It’s — tricky! Because it starts out with that all familiar fuzz, before zipping off with all that pop-punk energy all these sort bands conjure up. And — that’s it! It’s catchy and sunny, one of the better up-tempo sun-splattered guitar songs I’ve heard this month, but also seems a touch restrained. This is where history — both recent and otherwise — work against them, despite crafting a very enjoyable surf-rock grazed number. The middle is fine for a while…especially with a drive like this…but eventually you have to move in some direction. Listen above.