The Atlantic Ocean
Richard Swift is a multi-talented recording artist from Minnesota whose ambitions have sometimes made his music a bit too challenging. But his pop instincts come together for The Atlantic Ocean, a solid collection of jaunty piano-based numbers that are propelled with weightless rhythms and vocals that are nearly buried in spots, more the product of shyness than production overkill. The title track crackles with a spirited groove that suggests Swift learned much from early ‘70s AM radio and an interest in Tin Pan Alley that goes beyond simply emulating the chirpier points of Ben Folds Five. These eleven songs are clever and literate and filled with playful moments from the half-crooned falsetto that opens “The Original Thought” and continues with the twisting organ riff that surrounds the piano. “Ballad of Old What’s His Name” rocks harder than anything with “ballad” in its title should. “Already Gone” uses various production tricks to achieve its intimacy. The vocals swirl past in loose pieces while notes are coo-ed and hummed and phrases are blended in powerful harmony.