Swans - To Be Kind 2 x CDs

SKU 28-YGOD46.2
Hard-edged, well played, minimalistic and stark post-rock, but filled with interesting details. This is the 3rd by the current lineup of the group and this is a really strong one.

"Only on occasion does it make sense to praise music as scary, and somehow many of those occasions coincide with Swans sending new sounds out into the world. Since 1982, when the band emerged from the same New York "no wave" scene as noise-rock acts like Sonic Youth, Swans' seething intensity has been a default mode. Every element of the Swans sound is alarming, brutal, dark and sublimely beautiful for all the rage that gets articulated — and the sense of release that gets promised, too. After a fateful demise in the '90s (see the live-recorded, um, swan song Swans Are Dead) and a resurrection in 2010, the group has been on an improbable hot streak ever since, culminating with 2012's The Seer and a traveling road show that threatened to tear apart the fabric of the cosmos every time Michael Gira and his collaborators took the stage. To Be Kind, fans of aural menace will be pleased to know, follows suit. "Screenshot" opens on a telltale skulking, stalking note, with repetitive curls of guitar and bass that make for a cruel kind of disembodied funk doled out in slow motion. Gira's vocals occupy a style somewhere between a whisper and a growl, and the whole song builds to a dramatic crescendo that reduces horror-movie piano to just one of many parts in a ravishing din. "Just a Little Boy" starts at a slower distended speed — with moody ambience evocative of the El Paso, Texas, environs in which it was recorded — and proceeds to move through enough noisy feints and gut-punches to leave listeners trembling in the proverbial corner. To Be Kind continues on in much the same fashion for 122 ominous minutes, with a sense of suspense and anticipation that makes for a thrillingly active listening experience. When hearing Swans, the mind wanders at its own peril; attention is required simply to be at least a little steeled against what might stand to happen at any given moment. That's certainly the case in "Bring the Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture," a 34-minute centerpiece that makes a mockery of the notion of musical moods being confined by time. Instead, it creeps along by its own expectant logic, mixing onslaughts of guitar noise with Gira slurring and screaming over spells of spacey synthesizers and samples of horses neighing. There's silence in there, too — buried somewhere deep within." - NPR

Michael Gira / vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, production
Christoph Hahn / lap steel guitars, electric guitar, vocals
Thor Harris / drums, percussion, vibes and bells, wind instruments, handmade viola, vocals
Christopher Pravdica / bass guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Phil Puleo / drums, percussion, dulcimer, piano, keys, vocals
Norman Westberg / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Additional musicians
Bill Rieflin / additional drums and percussion, synthesizer, piano, electric guitar, bass, keyboards
Al Spx / background vocals on "Bring the Sun"
Little Annie / vocals on "Some Things We Do"
Julia Kent / strings and string arrangement on "Some Things We Do"
St. Vincent / background vocals on "Nathalie Neal", "Bring the Sun", "Screen Shot", "Kirsten Supine"
Jennifer Church / background vocals on "She Loves Us", "A Little God in My Hands"
Daniel Hart / violin
Rex Emerson / mandolin
David Pierce / trombone
Evan Weiss / trumpet
Sean Kirkpatrick / piano, harpsichord, synth
John Congleton / piano

  • LabelYoung God
  • UPC658457004623
Your Price $17.00

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