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Swans - Holy Money CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.68 | 22 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Holy Money should be considered as a sister album of Greed rather than a successor since these songs were recorded during the same sessions as the band's prior release. I also think it's generally a superior album due to a couple of stunners plus alternate takes on a couple of Greed tracks in which I find these Holy Money versions more fleshed out and preferable.

"Fool", sparse yet effective in Greed as an opener, is now amped up with pounding drums and more bombastic guitarwork that almost comes across like some deranged take on Pink Floyd's "In The Flesh". The lyrics are still clear and freakish, an important part of the 'dollar sign' era. "Money Is Flesh" (I find myself saying "flesh" a lot here) also utilizes more percussion to add an extra layer to that monstrous industrial swing effect. This is the version generally heard regarding reissues and compilations.

"A Hanging" opens things on a pretty grim note, featuring Jarboe's ceremonial wailing while Gira dishes out some humdinger prose.

"Dear God in Heaven, I'll hang for you."

The music has that clanging industrial vibe, and eventually finishes with a storm of tribalistic drumming. I always thought it would make for an unforgettable 'walk down the aisle' wedding tune. The version of "A Screw" found here is creepy with the pulsing industrial throb juxtaposed with menacing whispering vocals and the eventual chanting also found on the single versions.

Jarboe actually gets a tune of her own this time around, "You Need Me", although it plays more like an interlude, or a brief oasis between two shambling behemoths. Eerie yet pretty.

As I mentioned before, there are a couple of doozies. "Coward" is similar in style musically to Greed's "Anything For You", but more provocative and punishingly depressing. The corker though is one of my all-time favorite SWAN tracks, "Another You". The inclusion of a harmonica in this venomous dirge adds a whole new element, like a boat tour through the deepest, murkiest, most alligator-ridden swamp in the bayou led by a lunatic. Halfway through the song the guitars & bass go bonkers while cavernous moans slink there way into the music, as if things couldn't get darker. This monster tapers off with the repeated line "I should have hurt you". Brilliant.

I can't deny that Greed has some memorable beasts lurking within, but overall I think Holy Money got the better batch of tunes in the end, as it's a bit heavier and no less depraved.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |


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