Songwriter Tim Williams exudes an irrepressible (but not glassy-eyed) optimism in his music as Soft Swells, much of which, not coincidentally, is informed by the fact he had two heart surgeries before he was 30. And if ever there were a time for a sunnier, intelligent outlook, it’s now, which makes the L.A. indie-rockers’ forthcoming third album, “Be Young,” so welcome. Williams, now father to a baby girl, recorded his new songs with a host of collaborators old and new. Soft Swells guitarist Kyle Fredrickson had a hand, as did Christopher Pappas and Jack Lawless when they could work around their other endeavors (Pappas’ solo project Elle Belle and Lawless as the drummer for DNCE). Alan Wilkis (Big Data) and Jon Visger (Absofacto) also contributed, but no matter the number of fingers in the pie, “Be Young” (due May 26) , like Soft Swells’ previous releases, seems effortlessly melodic.
The guitar-spiked first single “Reins,” says Williams, “is about pushing yourself in a new direction when you reach a dead end.” He adds: “The chorus says ‘Get out if you lost the reins on someone you love, they’ll return the same’ — which I wrote about a friend trying to force a relationship simply because they felt their age limited them to any other possibilities. Youth is defined by your ability to choose your outcome in a situation, not the number of days you are alive.”
||| Stream: “Reins”