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Swans - To Be Kind CD (album) cover

TO BE KIND

Swans

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.94 | 196 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Xonty
4 stars Definitely a step on from "The Seer" and "My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope In The Sky", but not entirely to my liking. I love the more overblown structures and durations of each piece, but it can become very easy to lose interest in something like the 34 minute "Bring The Sun/Toussaint L'Overture". You really need to be prepared to be in the right mood to listen to this album, even more so than any other Swans record, to be honest.

The band has mastered their new signature sound now, and Gira and co are employing it excellently with ingenious pieces of loosely improvised material, that are sort of illusively maintained by hard-hitting percussion/guitars for 2 everlasting hours. I can totally understand how this album fatigues listeners, but you really can't fault a band for being this ambitious. Somehow, they've found a way to push the musical boundaries at a time when it appears so much has been done with rock. I think a little bit of blind luck came into play here though.

I suppose "To Be Kind" has a consistently mediocre, minimalist backing built up of repetitive, aggressive beats and lyrics. Occasionally, this is stricken down to the bare bone or better still takes a completely unexpected turn - the obvious example being the absolute euphoric cacophony of brass on "A Little God In My Hands". Definitely the most uplifting, and probably greatest moment on the album. Elements of minimalism are ever-present, with the hypnotic "poetry" and world-shaking stagnant harmonies. There are still some reassuring echoes of post-rock and the band's industrial feel throughout.

All in all, a primal attack on your ears. A mixture of potentially terrifying to enlightening sounds, with practically no middle ground. On the other hand, they've definitely found a tipping point in their music, in discarding any delicate underlying essences from "The Seer" and replacing them with more brutality. Glad to see this at the #1 spot on the 2014 podium on RYM, even if there are better albums out there.

B(-): A classic Swans record - primal, exhausted, and healing.

Screen Shot: **** Just A Little Boy: **** A Little God In My Hands: ***** Bring The Sun/Toussaint L'Overture: **** Some Things We Do: **** She Loves Us: **** Kirsten Supine: **** Oxygen: ***** Nathalie Neal: **** To Be Kind: ****

Xonty | 4/5 |

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