To me, Warm Thoughts (formerly Dad Punchers) has always been about getting the best out of the hand you’re dealt. The most recent record is no exception to that. Tied to past works by two songs (“Intangible” and “Your Haircut Man”) that have been previously released, “I Went Swimming Alone” is a collection of approaches to the problems of a twenty-something.
Elliot Babin, whose main job is being a drummer in Touché Amoré, started his solo project in 2012. Since then, it has come a long way. Warm Thoughts continues to provide us with angsty, driven “bummer punk”, but the sound on “I Went Swimming Alone” is a lot more polished, the songs are catchier. Almost all of them deal with different situations where you want what you don’t, or can’t, have. Most of them also include oddly specific anecdotes, but are very relatable nonetheless, since the key concepts are universal ones, such as the fear of being alone (see “Airport”) or being forgotten (see “Waiting For Me”), or – as in “Your Haircut Man”- the uncomfortable situation of “accidentally falling in love with your roommate” (for further relatability, replace with ‘anyone you shouldn’t be falling for’).
The entire record is permeated by a somewhat nostalgic feeling, the state of being unhappy, but at peace with it. It pretty much feels like you’re stuck in one of the frequently referenced daydreams. The creation of this atmosphere is something I can’t quite get behind, since it’s such a peculiar mood that is evoked over and over in every single song, but I am 100% here for it.
Faultless Rating: ✔✔✔✔✔
Song recommendation(s): Airport, Romance Novelist, Waiting For Me, Intangible