“Swim Team Sucker” by Castle Pines – A Song Feature
Castle Pines skillfully gave life to another genre blend. “Swim Team Sucker” is a Rock single at heart, but has a hand extended into Southern sensibilities. Previous releases from the band included Rock with Pop elements (“Palm Springs”) and Rock with occasional touches of Metal vocals and Shoegaze guitar (“Derailed”). All three songs received significant on-line praise.
The first 30 seconds of “Swim Team Sucker” are deceptive, since the instruments are calm and the vocals are almost stoic. Then, a shout reveals the true nature of the song. "Swim Team Sucker" is dynamic. Even the single-note guitar instances are engaging (such as at 2:22). “Swim Team Sucker” is well suited to be either the first or last song on a performance setlist of a band that has other strong candidates for those positions.
Castle Pines is an Alt-Rock group from Corona, California. The members are Leandro Barrientos (vocals, guitar), Ricky Garvey (lead guitar, backing vocals), Sterling Fairfield (percussion), and Jesse Briseno (bass).
The press material for the release of “Swim Team Sucker” is informative:
Written shortly after the news of millionaire college swimmer Brock Turner receiving a slap on the wrist after being caught in the act of violent sexual assault, the song's lyrical cues and meandering narrative contemplate the state of modern musics one sided stories of hyper-sexualization and objectification.
On surface level the lyrics can be interpreted as a young protagonist determined to win the affection of the unnamed person of his/her desire. On further study, the lyrics are blatantly satirizing the use of “said sexual desire” in the overused and dated tropes of the noble gentlemen fervently chasing the insatiable, crossing the line of ones own will and into the breech of another individuals boundaries, regardless of the consequence.
Musically the song is rooted in the Laurel Canyon era of singer-songwriters of the late 60’s early 70’s, highlighting a feel good, major melody whose happiness seems to lie in a hypocritical dichotomy of the grim themes. Tinges of “Dad rock”, chain food restaurants of the “best time in music” lie underneath the snarling and bursting at the seams song, where an entire generations musical influence was based on the exploration of sexual promiscuity without the fear of repercussion.