Francis Baptiste
Songwriter and Music Journalist

Swim Team – V

Written Friday, July 26

Bold, brash, unapologetic, and most importantly, expertly executed, V is Vancouver indie of the highest caliber, creativity firing on all cylinders. It’s unique and non-conformist, the kind of album that is sure to have longevity among Vancouver music fans. It’s an album I hope finds a wider audience, because people should hear it and it would be a sparkling representation of a scene that is currently bursting with imagination and talent.

At it’s best, V plays out like an ode to collaborative songwriting. The guitar melodies exist often entirely independent of the rhythm section, such as in the guitar part of the second track, X. Yet the instruments always coalesce despite their contradictions.

The drum performance is impeccable. Without it, all the pegs get removed from the circus tent and the whole thing comes crashing down. Maybe that’s always the case with drums. In a group like Swim Team, though, where the guitar and bass can be like two leashed dogs pulling their owner in seperate directions, a solid drum performance becomes even more important. The consistently stellar drum performance is truly the lynchpin of the record. Rhythm and groove in general seem to be a big theme in this album. The titular track of the album, V, is the only instrumental and consists of what sounds like a five minute jam session where all members lock into a groove and just ride it out.

What I love most about this album is each member is bringing something to the table and it feels like each component is equally integral to the character of each song. It’s not traditional rock music where a singer/songwriter comes up with a chord progression and a vocal melody and the drums and bass just fill in the blanks. Every instrument is bringing something to the song that is fundamentally changing the essence of that song, and thus forming the sound of this album, the odd and unique sound that is Swim Team.

I haven’t seen them live yet but I’m definitely looking forward to it. This album has been on repeat in my car for the last couple weeks. I think I’ll probably be listening to it a lot in the near and distant future.

Listen here:



My name is Francis Baptiste. I'm an Indigenous singer/songwriter in Vancouver, BC, an avid supporter of the Vancouver music scene, a contributing writer to Citrus Magazine, Permanent Rain Press, Music Existence, City Soundcheck, and the leader of the band Bird Parade. I'm also a recovering alcoholic and a divorced single father. Music and writing help me combat depression and relapse. For me, creativity, productivity, and community are essential to healing. There's so much incredible music in this city. You can learn more about the music I make on this page. I think it's good to be open about what you're dealing with, so below are some funny pictures of me from the last time I relapsed. It's important to find humour in dark times.

Franci Baptiste feeling rough Francis Baptiste binge drinking Francis Baptiste at his worst

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