Lovely and unassuming, “Swing” acquires gentle power from its soft, triplet-based accompaniment, which as the song unfolds does indeed give the listener the sensation of being on a swing—you can just about sense the leg-pumping momentum, the giddy semi-dizziness of leaning straight back into the pendulum energy. Listen to the swing of the chorus—“If I could be anything/I’d be your darling”—in which Drake achieves the almost impossible trick of employing an awkward scan for both musical and metaphorical purpose: the “incorrect” emphasis amplifies the swinging sensation while also capturing the ambiguous command of one on a swing, where you are in control but also not really. And you are by necessity alone.
Through it all, “Swing” carries with it the force of Angharad Drake’s clear, tranquil voice, combining an intimate tone with unexpected potency when the moment calls for it. Young singer/songwriters don’t often write and sing with this much authority, and compound the problem by too obviously attempting to compensate. Drake glides easily into her simple sonic landscape of guitar and voice, drawing only as much attention to herself as is required, leaving us with the satisfying sense of having been visited more by a great song than a particular personality. This will serve her well in the long run. We grow far more easily weary of personalities than songs.
Drake is from Brisbane; her first name is not as difficult as it looks—accentuate the second syllable and it becomes pleasantly easy to say. “Swing” is the title track from an eight-song EP, her second, that she released in September. You can listen to and and buy it via Bandcamp. Thanks to Insomnia Radio for the head’s up.