I Was Born Swimming is the debut album from Ella O’Connor Williams, also known as Squirrel Flower. However, this is no typical indie rock record; it’s poetic, warm, and bold. The record successfully shows off her vocal range, and ability to connect poetry with the right instrumentals. The arrangements are mostly light and come natural to Williams. She takes a record that is slow-moving and makes it thoughtful and ethereal.
The album opener, “I-80” accurately sets the scene for the rest of the album. It starts slower with acoustic guitar, then gradually builds up momentum with heavy bass and pounding drums. The standout song on this album also happens to be the first single, “Red Shoulder.” It starts off with just guitar, and suddenly goes full force with drums and bass. Williams’s vocals add a new layer of ethereal bliss, with lyrics like “You’re one for healing, but I’m still reeling,” almost like she looks at the end of a relationship with a past lover. The guitar-riff-as-a chorus technique fits perfectly in this song, making it undeniably catchy. As you get to the B-side of the album, it is clear that Williams strays away from the basic structure of a song since most of the songs lack a clear chorus and have similar tempos. The lyrics are what standout most when it comes to this album, showing how change can be sad and hopeful at the same time, and how there is beauty in the way that Williams connects to us through this album. You feel what she feels.