Release Date: May 29, 2012
Record label: Young Gods
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Swans founder and sole constant Michael Gira was stern and adamant when he announced in 2009 that his intention to revamp his then-defunct flagship project was no mere grab at cheap nostalgia. Indeed, it was easy for his audience to be cynical following the flurry of classic post-punk/indie rock acts that decided to reform throughout the 2000s, most of them nakedly and blatantly grabbing at every dollar to be squeezed from their post-mortem fame. But there’s something about Gira’s rather prickly integrity to suggest that, of all the musical figures to really mean their dismissal of cheap opportunism, he was one to believe.
The voice of Swans frontman and founder Michael Gira is one of stentorian command. Even during the lightest moments of his three-decade career, Gira's bellow has been deep, dark, and direct, both an apt vehicle for his raw lines about spiritual tumult and human filth and a compelling accompaniment to Swans' stylized roil. But at least on We Rose From Your Bed With the Sun in Our Head, the new live double-disc set from his rebuilt old band, Gira sounds exhausted.
If reunions are about looking back, about rehashing the past, then Michael Gira’s reformation of Swans is no reunion. It’s become clear during their incessant touring, and the band’s last album, 2010’s My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, that this isn’t the same Swans that clattered and snarled their way through the ‘80s and into the mid-‘90s. Swans is ever pushing forward, and they sound now like an expansive, rattling expansion of Michael Gira’s country-death-blues work in Angels of Light.
All Tomorrow's Parties, Asbury Park New Jersey, October 1st 2011. Shortly before Swans come on stage in the dilapidated theatre I'm looking over the shoulder of the man seated in front of me, and watching him scroll through pictures on his phone (a girl holding a dog an amusingly-named confectionary brand) and reading his BBMs: "the layout is awesome, the bands are great. Jeff Mangum nearly made me cry," he writes.