Over the last two years, a whirlwind of festival sets and opening gigs – plus the extra boost of a trending genre – have helped sweep this married folk duo's rudimentary guitar and junkyard drum setup out of Charleston, South Carolina, and into the warm glow of the spotlight. Their latest LP shirks the kind of Americana that had Mumford & Sons selling out stadiums, despite how easy it would've been for Shovels to keep digging. Instead, Swimmin' Time is triumphant in its confidence and variety: a headstrong attempt to make the band's shoobie-doo-wop sensibilities ("Coping Mechanism"; "Bridge on Fire") and ominous ruminations ("Evil"; "Ohio") play nice with their established Appalachian charm. Any faults just add to Swimmin' Time instead of diminishing the sincerity of this full, flavorful record.
Leslie Ryan McKellar