Swans - To Be Kind

Swans – To Be Kind

A hypnotic bass line introduces you to the slightly surreal adventure that is ‘To Be Kind’; Swans’ newest addition to their large collection of music. In what will feel like a two hour long hallucinogenic trip to the unseasoned Swans listener, this album may pass many people by as nothing more than a noisy din. Fans of this style of avant-garde music Swans have come to pioneer, will be pleased to be informed that this being the third album released since the band reformed in 2010, continues on what is to be expected of the madness and genius of Michael Gira.

A newcomer of Swans’ (and perhaps not an appreciator of the more alternative styles of popular music) may find this album rather difficult to deal with. The droning undertones and insistent chanting make some of these songs seem more like tribal rituals than a concoction of a band from New York. In some sections nothing but noise inhabit your speakers and you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering if your stereo is malfunctioning. Although it may appear as nothing more than noise, it must be kept in mind that music does not necessarily have to appease your ears to be considered as beautiful. Swans in particular, apply to this theory as you must interpret this music in your own way and not be put off by the avant-garde nature. If by these descriptions you are so painfully intrigued by this album then go listen immediately. If you still need some persuading, read on.

This two disc epic album delivers an unforgettable experience that every music lover must adhere to. Be it the mesmerising drone of the albums opener ‘Screen Shot’ or the 35 minute colossal track that is ‘Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture’ it will indeed entrance listeners. Some songs like ‘Oxygen’ take a more energetic, thrashing heavy metal approach whilst the title track eerily soothes you as the adventure comes to an end. This album is a varied collection of alternative sounds that many people will find incredible, and I’m sure a number of people may dismiss entirely. Whatever the opinion upon this work, it is undeniably a fantastic accomplishment that echoes the great sounds of Swans’ past.

Release Date 12/05/2014 (Young God)


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Alex Busby

'BA Music student at the University of Leeds, guitarist and a passion for critical analysis of all forms of music.