Release Date: Aug 2, 2011
Record label: Kitten Charmer
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
It's no secret to anyone who's read the articles I've contributed to this here site over the years that I'm a Wild Swans fan. Their debut single The Revolutionary Spirit was quite simply one of the best songs of its time and No Bleeding is one of the best things ever, one of the few songs that gives me goose pimples even on the 200th listen. They made two great albums in 1988 and 1990 before head Swan Paul Simpson put the name to bed in a wave of disappointment and disillusionment.
Claiming to have "unfinished business," former Teardrop Explodes keyboardist Paul Simpson returns with The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years, his cult side project, The Wild Swans' first album since 1990's Space Flower and a new super-group line-up which includes the Brian Jonestown Massacre's Ricky Maymi, Echo & the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson, and Spiritualized's Mike Mooney, just to name a few. Considering the lengthy time away, and the eight years it took to release their debut album, you wouldn't think that timeliness would be one of the album's dominant themes, but perhaps inspired by how quickly the resulting two decades have flown by, much of its 13 tracks are preoccupied with the fleetingness of life, whether it's the shuffling acoustic melancholy of "Lost at Sea," the Smiths-esque shoegazing of "When Time Stood Still," or the eerie, Lynchian cinematics of "Glow in the Dark. " When he's not pondering such existential issues, he's launching equally substantial diatribes against the state of the nation, such as on the chiming psychedelic folk of "English Electric Lightning," which lists the pros and cons of living in Britain; the rallying cry of avant-garde pop opener "Falling to Bits," and the several tales of disillusionment with his Liverpool hometown ("The Bluebell Wood," "My Town").