Best-of compendium from mid-'90s indie should-have-beens
This London-based quintet, all crumpled Oxfam shop suits and NHS specs, appeared out of time among Britpop’s cocky glare. Unfortunately their yearning, hyper-literate twilight pop (Leonard Cohen romanticism multiplied by The Teardrop Explodes) only compounded their isolation. Yet in those pre-Parklife days, Animals That Swim’s intelligent barfly persona, particularly the bizarre imaginary tale of Roy Orbison on “Roy” and the doleful “King Beer”, made them a haven from gormless grunge. The 1996 single “Faded Glamour” got them some radio play, but 2001’s Happiness From A Distant Star effectively sank. This judiciously selected collection highlights their ennui-soaked glory perfectly.