‘Learn to Swim’: a certified banger


Kenzie Borland

Troy Toon, bass player of The Cavves, plays at the all ages show at Crown Uptown. (April 2018)

Slightly irresponsible, yet always a good time, “Learn To Swim” is an anthemic record for anyone who’s along for the ride. The debut album by local legends, The Cavves, gives listeners a chance to plunge into the fleeting emotions propelled by a near-empty gas tank.

Strumming everywhere from frat houses to college hill basements, The Cavves have captured the hearts and attention of every Midwest middle child and their cohorts. Leading the bunch with her dreamy vocals and golden-hour guitar playing is Sophie Emerson. Troy Toon slides in with his always cheeky composure, backing vocals, and a beach-bumming bassline. On the percussion side is Jackson Relph, who plays the life out of his drum kit. Dousing the album with playful vibrance is Matt Bennett with a flying stint on guitar. Combined, this group of witty Wichitans produce an album that joyfully submerges the listener.

Recorded with stunning quality, “Learn To Swim” gives fans a decidedly different listening experience than they would find at a live show. The immediate use of clapping heard in the opening number, “Get By,” quickly establishes the playful heartbeat of this album. The tempo of the record is often speedy, but never overwhelming. “Tunnel Vision” and “Coven In My Oven” glide between the sounds that characterize the surf rock genre — mellow intros that inevitably morph into headbanging adrenaline rushes.

The anthemic “Varsity” runs straight into a peachy summer sunset. Riddled with bouncy guitar riffs and echoing vocals, this song is a deep breath of fresh ocean air. A definite highlight of the album, the tropical melodies transport the listener to a citrusy beach town somewhere off the coast.

The record’s closer, “Poser Party,” lands the album close to home. It’s full of the angsty sounds you’d hope to find in a locally produced album. This song is a rallying cry to the local music scene that built The Cavves and closes out the album out with an abrupt burst of energy. It’s the perfect close for “Learn To Swim”: a certified banger.