JONNY SWIFT's 'Camelot': Come For The Rides, Not For The People

Published on 9 February 2024 at 08:20

Words: Max Bradfield


Kicking off the new year with a fresh style, Jonny Swift has tried his hand at a post-punk influenced social commentary. His new single, with Black Hulled Ships, 'Camelot' which was released on the 26th of January surrounds the gritty and somewhat harsher than expected reality of British theme parks, and the clientele they draw in. 


Camelot takes a brilliant course through relatable story-telling and a near psychotic delivery that is matched by the swirling instrumentals within. As the listener is treated to this deviant, dystopian tale of time-worn attractions, we move through this distorted fun house-like jingle before a superb beat comprised of sharp snares and devilish high hats complement the track excellently. 


Swift recalls going to Camelot with a coachload of children from Preston, and while a likeable guitar line that takes on the tone of The Cure whittles at our sanity - we can't help but empathise with his narrative. We've all been to a crap park, and Swift reminds us not only of geography through listing a slew of Northern towns and cities, but he hits us with the sights, sounds and smells of a disappointing day out. 

“The song is about the darker side of British theme parks and how sometimes they can be a bit depressing. The rides are meant to be scary when in reality the customers are scarier!”.

We get reminded of the likes of "cheap-cut beef burgers", "candyfloss trodden on the floor in a puddle of mud" and "cigarette smoke (filling) the queue to the big wheel". All these visceral things lead to Swift's declaration: "I'm frightened in Camelot". What once was a place of joy and whimsy is a sharp, jagged stage that gives a grizzly cross section of the British working class looking for reprieve. 


There's clearly no classist incentive present - don't be silly. It's just a nightmare sequence, likely from childhood misadventure, and it hits the spot of a drab daydream excellently with its droning, tubular sounds and spoken word brilliance.


Jonny Swift is a Cumbrian based songwriter and performer. He has received exposure from BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio London, Simon Le Bon on Boogaloo Radio, and from Amazing Radio. His release from last year, ‘Hollywood’ is a perfectly crafted slice of indie-pop while ‘Camelot’ couldn’t be more opposite, showing Swift’s talent for writing across genres.

Since 2020, Jonny Swift has released three albums via the independent label Seahouse Records. Swift is also an exciting live performer having previously supported Finley Quaye and Wendy James, as well as appearing at several festivals.


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