Album Review: Swans – To Be Kind

Editor's Review


For the listener with stamina, this is an absolute masterpiece.

Share Button
With ‘To Be Kind‘ Swans, a band with an impressive discography which spans four decades, have seemingly perfected their ambitious, raw musical style and created an album accessible to those who may have been put off before.

This is still that signature Swans sound, but the production quality and the amount of room every instrument gets makes this a thoroughly well-rounded, professional sounding piece of art. The hard-hitting, repetitive swelling of a Swans song is unmistakeable, and more often than not, trance-inducing. That continues with their latest release, where throughout the album the brazen, brash “fuck you” of punk is perfectly combined with experimental elements and self-loathing blues.

The short, simple chants of Screen Shot – which could almost be considered a John Lennon ‘Imagine’ cover for the running theme of the in-existence of human woes – introduce us to this latest epic, building and building in aggression whilst adding more and more layers of instrumentation.

Things take a more prog-rock turn with Just a Little Boy (For Chester Burnett) which sounds like a combination of Pixies and Pink Floyd. Mocking laughter and the eerily-voiced line “I’m just a little boy! … I’m not human” make this quite a strange track. However it is still completely engrossing.

Track 3, A Little God in My Hands, is the most ‘pop’ track you’re going to find on the album. Catchy lyrics, an upbeat drum track, even a chorus. It could easily have been written by David Guetta. In short, it’s a very good song. And Guetta definitely couldn’t write shit this good.

My favourite track of To Be Kind is the mammoth Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture, which weighs in at a poxy 34 minutes so make sure you’ve got feck all to do for a while if you want to enjoy this. Spreading the length of this song out so much allows every aspect to gather pace and crescendo. This thing could be an album in it’s own right.

Some Things We Do is a downbeat, East Asian sounding beauty. The track ends side one of the album, so consider it an ‘outro’.

Side two provides another Pixies-esque prog-rock track in She Loves Us. Then there’s the funky, straight-up-rock tune Oxygen which slowly gets more off-beat and wild, either side of two drawn out, epic progressions in Kirsten Supine and Nathalie Neal, the former a dark, twisted love song, and the latter an aggressive, twisted love song. The title track, To Be Kind, sees this two hour journey come to a close, merging the minimalist vocal-led beginning into this 4-minute last hurrah of mashing and breaking every bit of their instruments. Quite the send off.

My fiancé’s score: 2.5/10 “It sounds like they’re trying a bit too hard to be ‘artsy’ and deep and it’s a bit pretentious. I thought they were much younger than they are, so they should know better”.

…Take that as you will.

I Draw Slow – Swans on MUZU.TV.

Share Button

Album review: Luke De-Sciscio ‘The Banquet’

We’ve got something a little different for you today. Singer-songwriter Luke De-Sciscio has just released his eclectic new album ‘The

Continue reading...

Single Review: Borderline Toxic – Blood Sucking Beauty Queen

Borderline Toxic showcase their upbeat take on the rock genre as they come flying out of the traps with latest

Continue reading...

Album review: Mica Millar – Heaven Knows

Soul singer Mica Millar has released her debut album Heaven Knows. Soulful and uplifting right from the start, it’s a

Continue reading...