Album Review: Night Swim by Josef Salvat

Australian born, London-based singer-songwriter Josef Salvat was one of the breakthrough artists hotly tipped for success in 2015. His single ‘Hustler’ (taken from Night Swim) was released back in early 2015, and really helped to catapult him into the spotlight and onto more people’s radar.

However, you may have unknowingly heard Josef Salvat even before this, as his cover of ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna was picked by Sony to feature as the backing music in the advert for their new 4K Ultra HD TV in 2014.

Fast-forward to 2016, and after a string of well-received tracks from the album, Josef Salvat is finally ready to release his much-anticipated debut album.

Night Swim is a collection of everything Josef has achieved so far in his innovative career in music. Think of it as the road to introducing Josef Salvat, as the album contains influences from every aspect of Josef’s sound so far. As a debut album it’s stunning, bearing the hallmark of that kind of sleek, polished output usually only seen by album two or three from much more experienced artists.

The tracks on Night Swim have the pulsing beats, recognisable rhythms and sing-along choruses of pop, but combined with Josef’s honeyed vocals and powerfully emotive lyrics, they transform into a dazzling display of strangely euphoric anthems. Topped with electronic and soul influences, the result is truly remarkable. The largely linear melodies and understated yet clean production really put the vocals in the spotlight, leaving the lyrics to lead the songs and setting the precedent for the sound of the whole album.

Late-night listening

This is one of those rare albums with the ability to freely adapt to any situation. These songs would feel equally at home in a club, at a beach party, or as a movie soundtrack. However, as the title suggests, this album really comes into its own as late-night listening. It’s the perfect soundtrack for this, the lyrics speaking of lust, love, obsession and betrayal, all infused with an almost ethereal, shadowy nocturnal air.

Josef Salvat is a true musical craftsman, managing to describe situations perfectly and create moments of extraordinary drama through his songwriting. Particular stand-out tracks for the storytelling element are ‘Shoot and Run’, ‘Night Swim’, and ‘Punchline’, which I imagine would sound amazing live.

In another rare approach for a pop star of today, I don’t think there are any weak songs on the whole album. None of the tracks give the impression of being there to fill space – they are all equally as strong as each other, and each has its own story to tell. With every listen, a little more of the meaning behind the lyrics reveals itself, leaving you with a greater understanding and a greater love for the songs themselves every time. Night Swim may not be immediately accessible, but trust me – stick with it. After repeat listenings, it reveals itself as a truly original and exciting album. The songs will stick in your head long after you’ve pressed pause, making for an unforgettable electro-soul pop debut.

Aside from being my new musical obsession, Night Swim is one of my personal favourite album releases so far this year. Keep your eye on this guy – I predict great things to come from Josef Salvat.