From the Other Stage at Glastonbury to an American tour supporting The 1975 Swim Deep took a well-deserved break in 2017. Having played all the cities they’d once only mythologised in teenage lyrics they returned to their respective homes and took stock of their career thus far. In the years that followed they lived apart, grew apart and almost fell apart.
Eventually, the group emerged out of the quagmire, emboldened with a collection of their most fully fledged pop songs yet. From the Rozalla-interpolating spoken word of ‘To Feel Good’ and ‘90s house piano jaunt of ‘World I Share’ to the plastic cup throwing krautrock euphoria of ‘Sail Away, Say Goodbye’, Swim Deep still sound high on their original supply of positivity, with an undertone of crushing reality seeping through for the first time.
“The album’s called Emerald Classics.” Austin says. “There’s a pub in Birmingham called the Emerald, where Cav basically grew up. It’s a classic Irish pub. There’s a jukebox in the corner, and everyone knows each other by their first name. It’s fitting that the album’s spiritual home is a local boozer, with much of its genesis punctuated by pints the band look back on as pivotal.
They may no longer be the cherubic boyband photographed holding flowers on the cover of their 2013 début, but have they grown up? “Grown up’s quite a loaded word...” Austin laughs.
Emerald Classics, an album for dreamers and pub jukeboxes, was released in 2019.