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RADIO SWAN IS DOWN

Laura

Post Rock/Math rock


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Laura Radio Swan is Down album cover
3.99 | 10 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Radio swan is down Part 1 (5:18)
2. Is there no help for the widow's son? (8:01)
3. I hope (5:32)
4. Numbers stations (5:44)
5. Every light (3:40)
6. Lake Vostock beachfront (2:09)
7. It's kind of like the innocent smiles you get at the start of a relationship before you fuck everything up (5:09)
8. Radio swan is down Part 2 (6:45)
9. Patterns not people (5:37)
10. Cambridge bypass (7:31)
11. Another near miss (8:50)

Total time 64:16

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Nathan Biggin / piano, synth, guitars, noises
- Andrew Chalmers / guitars, voice, noises
- David Gagliardi / drums, glockenspiel, percussion, voice, noises
- Carolyn Gannell / cello
- Andrew Yardley / bass, sampler, noises
- Ben Yardley / guitars, noises

Releases information

Alone Again records day006cd 2006

Thanks to chamberry for the addition
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LAURA Radio Swan is Down ratings distribution


3.99
(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(70%)
70%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

LAURA Radio Swan is Down reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A breath of fresh air!

Laura was one of the most talked about post-rock bands in the past year with their slightly different take on their music. The formulaic sound that many (not all) bands from the genre have is nowhere to be seen in this album, and what a wonderful sight that is!

I've never been this exited about an album from the genre since last year's Enjoy Eternal Bliss by Yndi Halda. Although there's clearly a big difference in their sound. While in my eyes Yndi Halda managed to improve and perfect the clichés about the genre making it look like a it was 2002 all over again, Laura on the other hand are in the vanguard of the genre slowly breaking new walls and opening new paths for other bands to follow.

The instrumentation is still common using the guitars as the forefront of their sound while vibraphones, violins, piano ect. help to make their sound as full as possible. The difference is in how they use it. As I said earlier, and probably be saying in the rest of the review, they don't follow any pattern already made by previous bands so this makes the album a nice varied experience. There isn't a single song that sound alike to another, but still it doesn't sound like a mish mash of sounds and its always focused (a thing which many people feel bands from the genre lack). The songs aren't long and they don't overstay their welcome. There's a different variety of themes in the songs all which make the album vary in emotions as well. As we all know post-rock bands are more concerned about making you feel rather than anything else and Laura isn't the exception. From love to hate, to despair, to joy, to anger, to nostalgia, you name it Laura pretty much covers it with its eleven songs and hour and four minutes of running time. My favorite song from the album is the breathtaking "I Hope". I can't really express my feelings I get when listening to this song. It's one of the three songs that uses vocals and the vocals are what makes this song what it is: simply wonderful. There's a bit of a problem though. The album has it's high quality material up front and by the end of the album the difference can be clearly felt with the only exception being the last song. But don't make this comment slow you down, this is still one of the best releases of the last year and one of the better albums from the genre.

At the end of the day you'll get an overall excellent album with very little drawbacks and a nice well needed distinctive sound. I strongly recommend this album for fans of melodic prog and post-rock fans in need of a new and refreshing sound.

4.5

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Send comments to chamberry (BETA) | Report this review (#111060) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 08, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Coloring the mental landscapes at your private waters edge

Different albums can serve specific purposes in one's life and they can also mean different things to different people. Radio Swan is an amazing album that already has a special purpose to me: this is a modern day meditation, a form of therapy for walking around in this world, both literally and figuratively. If you love to put on the headphones when you go out to walk, run, or ski, and you want the music that can help you escape the unwanted blabbering of your running thoughts as well as the noise of other people around you, this album is perfect. If you want music that will slowly creep into the grey of your thoughts and feelings, and color them as it drives you physically as well, look no further. Radio Swan inhabits but doesn't take over, it colors but it doesn't smother you, it helps you escape and feel better but it never compromises or panders. I hate to make comparisons to an album this special so I do so with the disclaimer that these are loose comparisons, Laura is a band all its own. You may hear bits of Sigur Ros in their sound but Laura is warmer and has very few vocals. You may hear bits of Kayo, but Laura is more uplifting, less crushing, more nuanced, and again lacks the tortured vocal of KD. You may even hear the influence of space rock and pop music that I hear in places. There are lots of surprises that reveal themselves over many plays. But my favorite thing about Radio Swan is simply its emotion and the way that it demands silence from my thinking mind. As in meditation, if you can actually quiet your mind while you listen to this, you have a much better chance of gaining something meaningful as it washes over you. Play it on headphones while taking a brisk walk on a cold winter day when you can see your breath, turn it up loud and see where it takes you.

Everything unfolds very slowly here and there is always an array of sounds coming and going, melodies that entice you like a siren but vanish just before you find her. You just can't always process everything that is going on but you don't need to. What I like about this album is that there is so much textural variance it doesn't kill you with heaviness or bore you with minimalism. You are given one interesting idea after another to chew on, you are always challenged and entertained by the care and skill taken in layering all of the many sounds and moods.

As mentioned a track by track is as pointless as comparisons to other bands is, but just a few brief notes: "Radio Swan is Down part 1" features some really nice cello over cascading guitar fuzz and slow, brooding drum beats. It crescendos to a harrowing ending of chaos that pulls you in for the long ride. "Is there no help" begins with spacey samples, clean picked guitar notes and then crunchy chords. Like the first song this builds and gets heavier as it goes. "I hope" has some vocalizations that remind me of Adrian Belew and the song has an accessible heavy pop approach. "Numbers Stations" is a wall of sound plain and simple. "Every Light" is a real favorite, with very expressive use of clean guitar and samples, quite uplifting. "Lake Vostok Beachfront" is a very short, quiet, and contemplative guitar solo that is pure fog, pure ambiance. "It's kind of like the innocent smiles you get at the start of a relationship before you f*ck everything up" wins the Fiona Apple song title award for 2006. But despite the precious title it's another killer track, my favorite. It has a little bit of jazzy snap to the rhythm at first but the guitars are once again drowning you in a very spacey slurry occasional augmented by perfect keyboard accompaniments. "Radio Swan part 2" is all bleary-eyed atmosphere with the cello returning and a song so sad you'll weep at the kitchen table as you sit there alone in your underwear nursing that hangover and doing a resin scrape. (Just joking of course.) But you'll weep with hope because even the sadness here is tempered with light. Strange unintelligible vocals are sprinkled throughout adding to the mystery. I agree with Ruben that there is a slight drop in quality to the last three tracks-it's almost like Radio Swan part 2 should have closed the album which would have been perfect-and then these last three songs would be bonus tracks. They don't suck but they just aren't as amazing as the rest. More laid back and detached.

If you've been turned off by things like Kayo or Sigur or others, thinking none of these groups are musically fulfilling enough, you might give the genre one more try with Laura. This is not music you listen to in common circumstances like singing along in the car or having beers with people over. This is music to be alone to. This is stunningly beautiful music for people with an open musical mind and essential for fans of the genre.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#155883) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It took a while but this band has won me over. I was surprised at how loud, chaotic, dark and heavy this album is at times. It really is an emotional rollercoaster with sadness, anger and despair being prominant much of the time. There's also beauty and joy like on the song "I Hope". LAURA are a six piece Post-Rock band from Melbourne, Australia. One of the members plays cello which adds to the emotion at times. They supported ISIS on their tour of Australia back in 2007, so yes they can bring the wall of sound when they want to.

"Radio Swan Is Down Part 1" opens with melancholic cello and heavy but slowly beaten drums. Distorted guitar comes in before a minute making some noise.The tempo picks up before 3 1/2 minutes until it's chaotic and loud 5 minutes in. "Is There No Help For The Widow's Son" is atmospheric to open with strange sounds effects. A guitar melody comes in and then the sound gets fuller 2 minutes in. Even fuller a minute later as drums come in. It's loud and chaotic 4 minutes in, and the Post-Rock style guitars are killer after 5 1/2 minutes. "I Hope" has vocals in it. We get some heaviness 1 1/2 minutes in but I love the sound when it settles somewhat.The contrast continues. It's so uplifting after 4 minutes as the vocals cry out. Emotional. "Numbers Stations" opens with weird sounds as the drums come in and guitar follows. Great sound here. Cello and a calm after 2 minutes. It's building to a heavy and emotional finale. "Every Light" opens with some intricate guitar melodies before the drums and fuller sound arrive. It gets louder and fuller. "Like Vostack Beachfront" begins softly and slowly builds but it never gets that loud or full before calming back down.

"It's Kind Of Like The Innocent Smiles You Get At the start Of A Relationship Before You Fuck it Up" opens with drums, keys and guitar that are slowly building. I like this one.It settles somewhat (love the keys) before building again. Nice. "Radio Swan Is Down Part 2" opens with spoken word samples as mellow music plays along. Cello before 1 1/2 minutes. It becomes more hopeful and peaceful sounding 4 minutes in. Spoken word samples return before 5 1/2 minutes. "Patterns Not People" is the one song i'm not a fan of. It's experimental with vocals. "Cambridge Bypass" is spacey to start out with synths. It's dark. Some distorted guitar sounds come in. A louder sound with drums 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocal samples 5 minutes in as it settles. A spacey calm before 7 minutes to end it. Good track. "Another Near Miss" makes me smile with the acoustic guitar melodies early. Light drums come in at 1 1/2 minutes. Distorted guitar and a fuller sound 2 minutes in. Great sound as the tempo picks up. It calms right down before 4 minutes. Some guest trumpet here as well.

4 stars in my opinion and if your into Post-Rock I highly recommend you check this album out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#201850) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2009

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent post-rock from Australia!

A couple of things caught my attention here; first, I just wanted to know a post rock band which wasn't from the USA and Canada, and second, the name; a simple name like "Laura", a female name for a post rock band sounds interesting. So then, knowing they are from Australia led me to search for their music, and since the very first listen I was happy, very happy.

This album named "Radio Swan is Down" was released in 2006 and is their second studio album, it features 11 songs and over 64 minutes of great post rock. The first song is the title track (first part), which is an excellent introduction to their sound, a song that is slowly progressing and that is full of excellent noises made by several instruments, this one has cello which adds an excellent atmosphere which is later changed by guitars and drums, the final part is heavy Very nice opener.

Next one is "Is there no help for the Widow's Son", with 8 minutes of music is one of the longest tracks here, the first minute is very atmospheric but later a nervous guitar appears and changes the mood. The song again progresses slowly but this time the sound is heavier, though at minute 4 it slows down and provokes a chaotic feeling, but later?the song explodes and makes an awesome and interesting sound, great final part. "I Hope" is my favorite song here, and actually one of my favorite post rock songs ever. It is catchier maybe because of its vocals that in a way mark the rhythm of the melody. This is soft post rock with great guitars and a beautiful atmosphere, very emotional. Not saying that is the best song of the album, but at least the one that moves me the most. Beautiful.

"Numbers Stations" is a very nice piece, guitar driven post rock with excellent drums and magnificent use of cello in some parts, not my favorite but a pretty good track anyway. "Every Light" opens gently with guitars making a friendly sound until the first minute and a half when drums appear and the sound increases. Then there is a new cello sound making the song more emotional, nice. Next one is the shortest track, "Lake Vostok Beachfront" and could be part of the previous track without a doubt, but they decided to make it a different one, this is a calm and soft short track with guitars and some synth effects making the atmosphere, nothing more.

"It's Kind Of Like the Innocent Smiles You Get At the start Of A Relationship Before You Fuck it Up", what a title, this song is very good, opens with soft drumming and some synth but then a new structure is being built up, the guitar work here is excellent and it is importan to mention that the keyboard sound makes this song even better, very emotive, if you are in the mood, it may cause you goose bumps.

The second part of the title track is the following song, some spoken vocals (yeah like a radio) sound over there, while there is a synth and some effects sounding here and there. Later the cello (which is an essential instrument in this album) appears and adds that exquisite and melancholic sound to the song. At minute 3 drums start playing but the same structure prevails. This is a tranquil, charming song.

"Patterns not People" starts with some weird sounds, the rhythm is very slow, it is the second track featuring vocals, but different from the others, this may bore you, it lacks that emotion and energy that the previous songs share.

"Cambridge Bypass" follows the same path, I mean it is a very soft song, the first part of it is space I would even call it an ambient song instead of a post rock one, but later guitars and vocals appear. However, the position will be the same at the end, a soft song with some strange noises but with a relaxing atmosphere.

The album ends with "Another Near Miss" which is very different, since the beginning you can tell it by the acoustic guitar, a couple of minutes are like that but then the song makes a sudden change into a heavier sound, and the words post rock appear in caps.

This album is excellent, one of those post rock albums that really do something on me, one of those I enjoy listening to every next time, and an album that I would like to suggest to any prog rock fan, so my final grade is 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#278465) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Australian post-rock band Laura haven't had that much attention on here, which is a shame because Radio Swan Is Down is actually really good as far as post-rock albums go. I particularly like the way the band manage to chart a middle course between electronic/keyboard-dominated post-rock and the more guitar-oriented manifestations of the genre, as well as their incorporation of radio static and snippets; the likes of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor/A Silver Mt Zion had more or less stopped using such audio interventions in their composition, but Laura prove that there's still potential to use them for more purposes than mere cliche.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#709793) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 05, 2012

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