Swamp Children, So Hot + Singles

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The strange middle ground between jazz and post-punk

Swamp Children grew up in the shadow of the more popular A Certain Ratio (with whom they shared rehearsal space), and a cursory spin through the group's discography makes it easy to see why. Both bands were enamored of walking bass, wailing brass and wah-wah guitar. But where ACR eventually evolved into a kind of starchy white funk, Swamp Children were indebted to the cool groove of jazz and bossa nova. Their debut So Hot is thoroughly hit-or-miss, but their first Factory single, "Little Voices," is a creepy little curio. The bassline stops and starts and Ann Quigley moans and hoots like a castrated Mark Stewart. The whole song is shadow without shape that doesn't end so much as unravel. Swamp Children eventually became a straight-up bossa nova act, changing their name to Kalima and abandoning their wily roots. "Little Voices" finds them at a strange crossroads, making music in the graveyard.