Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

I know nothing of this band and what they are about. Alright, that is not true. But I always feel that I need to know more of their extensive catalog. Swans always makes me self conscious. Swans makes me feel like everything I listened to up until that point has been silly, commercial and shallow. I want to reread French existential classics just to have something to talk about when we finally meet. I do not want to be the guy who doesn’t understand this band. I want to sing the praises of Holy Money. I want to wear a Swans T-shirt and smoke cigarettes at rogue art galleries in the 80s.

If you are like me, then you have always wanted to approach Swans but never knew how. Swans’ music is dense and intellectual exploring texture, noise and seething disgust. Formed in the 80’s, the band and gloom captain, Micahel Gira sailed the high seas of resentment and scorn. Swans were architects of an atonal city populated by imposing structures. Gira executed the band in 1997 picking up with the formation of experimental post rock outfit; Angels Of Light. The Angels Of Light output carried Gira up until 2007. Gira would resurrect Swans once again; funding the project with the sale of his 2010 solo record; I’m Not Insane. The new Swans record appears to be completely funded and supported from the ground. Back by popular demand, Swans releases My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky.

If you were looking to get into Swans but never knew how, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is the perfect place to start. Usually approaching a band is terrible if done backwards. All of the surprises are gone and natural progression is ruined. However, My Father is extremely reflective of the past 20 years of work. If one could view it as an overture which starts as an ending then you wouldn’t be far off. The seething disgust which once defined this band is still present just without the texture of noise. Tracks like “ You Fucking People Make Me Sick,” are surprising when uttered from a 56 year old. I would hate to call this record a combination of everything Gira has done but for now this is the only description which makes sense. Gira has a lifetime of anger which only was subdued in the later years of Swans and Angels of Light. My Father has Gira settling into a familiar and comfortable surrounding.

The most striking theme on My Father is the apocalyptic country which overlaps into minimalist folk. There are difficult passages through this album including the 9 minute opener, No Words/ No Thoughts and the 6 minute (feels like 16) opus; Eden Prison. The album has striking similarities to Jackie O Motherfucker’s 2006 release Flags Of The Sacred Harp as well as the early work of Crippled Black Phoenix. Comparisons, however, of this album feel silly as Swans refuse to be compared with other artists. My Father is a unique record for 2010 as Swans was a one-of-a-kind band for the later part of the century. I now feel bad for the comparisons. I’m sorry Swans. Let us hang out Friday night. We can drink whiskey by the underpass. Please be my friend.

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2010-12-10T11:00:14-08:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

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