Swans - To Be Kind
There is nothing more dissatisfying or depressing than the reformation of a once great band that seems uncalled for, irrelevant, or a last ditch cash grab whose sole motivation after all these years is to play you the hits and sell you some T shirts. Thankfully, the return of Swans fell into none of these categories. It can only be filed under necessary. In 2010 Swans reemerged with a new line up and a new album, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, which was good, but felt a bit constrained like new boots not yet broken into. In 2012 they gave us the monolithic The Seer, a record that somehow encapsulated all shapes and styles of the bands’ career from their massive / borderline abusive sound of which they came from, to their melodic tendencies of their mid period. But for that same reason the album seemed a bit sprawled brushing up against all the right places but not quite solid at its center. Then in 2014 we received To Be Kind and it is here that the new line up hit it's fully formed stride. Finally their evolution had been solidified. What used to be about simplistic pounding industrial intensity has now been refined into a symphonic cluster of perfection that simply cannot, and has not been met by any of their peers to this day. Everything experienced from a Swans live performance was finally translated into the grooves of this triple LP: a 2+hour long journey from the ego to the id. Similar to The Seer, you see the lines that connect To Be Kind to any previous stage of the band but there is a sense of unified purpose that sets this album apart and a whole new plateau of abstraction that is certainly uncharted territory. This album will swallow you whole and spit you out and upon completion, you’ll be grateful for the experience. Front-man Michael Gira has always served as the conduit to the madness that is Swans but on this album it is clear that his most recently recruited disciples have now completely surrendered to the madness themselves. Furthermore, they insist that we surrender all the same. 5 out of 5 Angry Mom Staffers agree, completely Essential! (Adam)
Check out a track here.