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Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

"My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky"

Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
21 September 2010, 12:00 Written by Jen Long

I’m not sure one three hundred odd word review can quite do justice for the level of adoration I feel for the new Swans record. Reactivated after a thirteen-year hiatus and returning with what can only be described as an all time career best, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky is the album Michael Gira always had in him, and has gloriously realised.

Take what you loved about Swans, the nihilism, the power, the epic crescendos and deathly drops. Now add to it over a decade of experience, perseverance and frustration. It’s dark, brooding, electric. It dips and teases and draws the very corners of my subconscious into submission. I can’t do anything else when it’s on other than sit there and get sucked inside it’s world, leaving on the other side completely exhausted from the amount of concentration it demands and deserves.

And I’m not going over the top. I was so excited when I heard that there’d be a new album from the post-No Wave New Yorkers that I completely forgot there was a chance it might be, you know, bad. I was so relived when I pressed play and discovered that not only is it not bad, it’s better than any good I’d ever imagined.

The record opens with the bleak clang of church bells before a machete of guitars thunder down, crushing the peace. No Words/No Thoughts – exactly my sentiment. The guitars are ugly and grueling, and then it stops, it all goes quiet, and what builds from the mist is the starting point for a beautiful record.

As dynamic as it is challenging as it is a work of art. Highlights come throughout. ‘You Fucking People Make Me Sick’ is an eery, haunting duet between Young Gods’ own Devendra Banhart and Gira’s own daughter. Fall asleep to this track and nightmares are a given. Conversely, ‘Inside Madeline’ is a delicate and touching journey as strings swoon and stutter behind Gira’s strong husk.

I don’t even care if I’m being sycophantic here. I could write another 500 words glorifying this album, but instead I’ll leave you with three; I love it.


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