Release Date: Mar 16, 2004
Record label: Sounds Familyre / Rough Trade
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
After completing the first installment of his planned series of 50 records -- one album dedicated to each state in the U.S. -- indie folk overachiever Sufjan Stevens returned with Seven Swans, a collection of stripped-down, introspective musings on life, love, and faith that chart the geographic location of the heart and soul. Many of these themes were dealt with eloquently on Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State, presenting the singer/multi-instrumentalist as a first-rate interpreter of the human condition, as well as a gifted musician.
Though this is the first of Stevens' records to be released in the UK, it's actually his fourth album. His third (due for UK release later this year) is a concept album inspired by the state of Michigan, and the beginning of a planned series of 52, one for every US state. His second is an instrumental song cycle based around the signs of the zodiac.
Sufjan Steven’s last record, Michigan, arrived like a bolt from the blue. Its doe-eyed clarity and refined melodic sweep trumped most of last year’s excuses for pop and functioned in service of something substantial – a celebration and a critique, a reframing of the way in which we might view our country. Through vignettes and sketches of his native state Stevens reinvigorated civic slogans (“Restore! Rebuild! Reconsider!”) without cashing them in as the confederate currency of camp.