At Swim is an incredibly soft record. Contrasting our harsh world, all of the album's instruments are played gently and with care, while Hannigan's hushed and raspy voice is as commanding as ever as she exudes a quiet confidence. On "Anahorish," a gorgeous a cappella interpretation of Seamus Heaney's poem, we hear the full powers of Hannigan's voice, but she dazzles all the same on denser tracks like "We, the Drowned" or "Barton," which is flecked with a muted electronic beat. Her voice punctures the thick layers of instrumentation with ease.
At times, At Swim feels like it drifts aimlessly. The meandering lead single "Prayer for the Dying" doesn't end fast enough, while the twirling "Tender" lacks any sort of a punch at all. Nevertheless, At Swim is like a dream you won't want to wake up from. (ATO Records)