Shovels & Rope, “Swimmin’ Time”
Shovels & Rope
Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst—the married duo that make up Shovels & Rope—aren’t just songwriters, they’re storytellers, too. With Swimmin’ Time, the couple creates a diverse range of characters, each exploring the depth of their literal and metaphorical waters. There’s a sense of calm introspection that is moved by their harmonious voices (“After the Storm,” “Thresher”). Yet, like the shifting ocean, Trent and Hearst also fluidly change to low-roaring tempos (“Evil,” “Swimmin’ Time”). Even with the seemingly drastic shifts, the album still ends up feeling cohesive, with every song working off of the last and flowing into the next. Shovels & Rope have kept things simple with clean production and subdued instrumentation, allowing their voices to drive the stories they tell while using their instrumentation as carefully considered accompaniment. The result is a gripping album, a bit rough around the edges, but with the capability to soothe at the heart of it.