Death Deserves A Name, the debut EP from Can’t Swim, made a lot happen for Chris LoPorto; not only was it raw, totally independent, and full of anguish, but it helped him form a full band and sign to Pure Noise Records for its proper release.
From there, Fail You Again was recorded and released the following year. It showed a tight level of growth and expansion, becoming a favorite for many in 2017. The sound was more focused, more emotional, and more driven. Following a single EP, it sounded as if the band had gone several albums deep already and was already looking to grow stronger and more diverse.
Fast forward a year and a half, and now we have This Too Won’t Pass to devour (something likely to be done multiple times within its first day for most fans). Though second albums used to have that stigma of being cursed–surely, you know the term “sophomore slump”–bands of late have made it mostly obsolete.
So many have come back stronger on their second outings, deciding to take that “growth” route earlier on than what used to be expected. For Can’t Swim, the change has been mostly influential this time it seems. Fail You Again was their “maturing” album; This Too Won’t Pass is their “touring” album. By that, I mean the sound seems more reflective of the bands Can’t Swim has been sharing the stage (and record label) with in the past two years. It has a more hardcore/punk edge to it, utilizing group vocals and screams on a regular basis (whereas before, LoPorto’s vocals were just gruff and mostly without accompaniment).
This isn’t a bad thing by any means, mind you. This Too Won’t Pass has a great energy to it, especially in the tracks, “What Have We Done,” “Sometimes You Meet the Right People at the Wrong Times,” and “Not the Way It Was.” The group vocals work wonderfully, and the screams sound natural. However, LoPorto’s singing has leveled out, making his voice cleaner than before.
Though I don’t dislike that, his gruff voice from previous records worked well with the content, and therefore I personally prefer it. The songs themselves are also less inventive (we don’t have any contenders against “We Won’t Sleep” here) in the sense that the band doesn’t sound like they’re reaching for anything out of their comfort zone.
It’s almost as if Fail You Again took so much out of them that This Too Won’t Pass needed to pedal more evenly this time; their creativity was just a bit drained last year. That being said, this is only a minor concern with an otherwise excellent album. It may feel slightly more straight-forward in approach, but most of the band’s key elements of prior are still intact; the lyrics are deeply emotional and painfully honest; the vocals trigger the heart and soul, and the instrumental work is satisfying and darkly energetic.
Can’t Swim have proven once again that they’re a force to be reckoned with, one cemented in angst and heartache. If you can’t connect to This Too Won’t Pass on any level, then are you really even human?