When I Was Good is a sparse, evocative, elegiac, haunting collection of songs written by John Robertson, and recorded with his brother William Robertson. Think Scott Walker singing Joy Division, Arcade Fire remixed by Boards of Canada, the Blue Nile produced by Mogwai. Uncompromising on all levels, the album is littered with unconventional time signatures, abrasive tonal textures and stark, powerful arrangements with little regard for conventional song structure.
For years now Andrew Eaton, singer with the Scottish band Swimmer One, has been writing music on the piano – delicate, melancholy songs inspired by writers as diverse as Mark Eitzel, Momus, Jane Siberry, and Steve Reich. A few of these – The Dark Ages, The Erskine Bridge, Drowning Nightmare 1, The Fakester Resurrection – evolved into songs for Swimmer One’s first two critically acclaimed albums but until recently most of them stayed in his head.
There cannot, surely, be many bands who find themselves compared favourably to both Belle and Sebastian and the KLF. Such is the curious fate of Edinburgh’s Swimmer One, whose experimental pop music has proved almost impossible to categorise but whose debut album, The Regional Variations, won rave reviews on its release in 2007.