|Label:||Young God Records|
Michael Gira said that Swans' new album 'The Seer' was "the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined.” That's a grand statement; is he telling the truth? Everyone loves Swans. With every fucker and his dog name checking them, why Gira isn't “livin’ la vida loca” on royalty cheques in a massive mansion, I just don't know...
2010's ‘My Father Will Guide Me up A Rope to The Sky’ was like an excellent fumble on the couch with an ex-girlfriend; hands down pants and trying to do something good whereas ‘The Seer’ is the equivalent of a 49 hour methamphetamine sex romp, only ending after you’ve chewed your lovers face off and then scrapped with the police who have taken great umbrage to your zombie patter. It's the sound of musicians who are extremely comfortable with subjecting listeners to intensely enduring aural assaults. It’s not direct like Meshuggah or Eagle Twin here; more like, “when is this going to fucking end?” I believe that seeing it performed live is when it will truly come alive.
Opener 'Lunacy' is a creepy start. Like a more realised track from ‘The Great Annihilator’, it sets the listener on a path that might not be that comfortable. This is clearly a song about shagging. But I certainly won’t be shagging to it. Unless I become a hipster and start powering a chick from Glasgow School of Art. ‘The Wolf’, a song which Gira wrote about me, is a lovely little acoustic number.
Title track ‘The Seer’ begins with a payload of guitars, horns, and Sega master-systems all having an epileptic seizure. Its phallic throb pulses to become several songs in one; it shaping itself into a moody, sinister guitar track. Chaos intensifies and it becomes wilder and wilder, crashing and flailing into itself. Then nothing. It tries to find its feet for what seems like an eternity, before transforming itself into nomadic belly dancer music. Then 'Seer Returns' hits us (as if we needed more 'Seer'), reminding me of ‘Children of God’-era Swans.
‘93 Ave. Blues’ is a satanic demon jazz odyssey that is only 5 minutes long. Thank fuck. ‘The Daughter Brings The Water’ is not only the biggest surprise on the album, but also the highlight. I had to fucking pinch myself when I heard this. Maybe Gira had a wank the day he recorded it with the band. Such is its beauty, I listened to it fifteen times in a row. I heard something in the music which freaked me out. But I won’t share it with you cunts. Why don’t you listen to it? Next up is 'Song for a Warrior' featuring Karen O, which after the splendour of the previous track I thought was a bit flat. Karen O singing like she’s from Memphis is enough to give Rocco Siffredi a floppy. Just no.
‘A Piece Of Sky’ is a majestic drone poem clocking in at 20 minutes. It grows into a jagged rock number and finishes with such a beautiful Gira acoustic piece that I was greetin’ earlier listening to it. Gira hates the term industrial, or perhaps any other term applied to his band, But that’s what the closing 'Apostate' sounds like. Violent noise repetition swells and as the track progresses it turns into to a ‘Funhouse’ jam.
In my opinion, this album serves as a real Swans fans wet dream. Anything at fault with it? Yeah, its two fucking hours long, which is stretching it by anyone's terms. Having said that, I believe that within this imposing tome lies probably Giras best work to date. Never a man to look back like the dickhead that was Orpheus, Gira has looked forward, using his knowledge and experience to build an album that will be terrifyingly brilliant live.
Posted: Fri 17 August 2012