What’s in the bag? (6)

IMAG0451Somebody had the day off, and that somebody may have nipped into town to the record shop, the same somebody may have spent a tiny bit more than they had intended to, can’t say any more than that.

What I can say though, is just how good ‘To Be Kind’ by ‘Swans’ is. It’s their 13th studio album, and the only one I own (as of today) and is a triple vinyl. I have heard it before on spotify and that’s part of the reason I bought it. Here is some stuff blatantly stolen from Wikipedia:

IMAG0486

Upon its release, To Be Kind was widely praised by music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 88, based on 35 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”. Mark Deming of Allmusic gave the album a positive review, stating: “Michael Gira is a man unafraid to follow his muse wherever it may take him, and To Be Kind is another example of his singular vision writ large without compromise.” Anna Wilson of Clash praised the album, describing it as “Karlheinz Stockhausen’s jarring classicism, Captain Beefheart‘s twisted blues, and the industrialism ofEinstürzende Neubauten coalescing into a swirling musical miasma.” She also stated that the album is “near perfection.” Benjamin Bland of Drowned in Sound gave the album a 10/10 score and stated: “A two-hour odyssey of similar proportions to The Seer, this is an album that emphasises rather than establishes Swans’ reconfirmed position at the top of the experimental rock tree, but that doesn’t make it any less of a thrill.” He also further commented: “Now that this mission has been completed there is space for To Be Kind, and future Swans records to affirm, rather than prove, that Swans are, and perhaps always have been, the greatest rock group on the face of the planet.” Writing for Rolling Stone, Kory Grow also compared this album to The Seer as well as the 1996 effort Soundtracks for the Blind, noting how Swans’ sound has evolved so that they “don’t just crush—they hypnotize”. The Needle Drop gave the album a 10/10, making To Be Kind the second ever contemporary album to receive a perfect score from the site, after Death GripsThe Money Store.

Ross Horton of musicOMH gave the album a 5-star score, commenting: “Gira shows that the Swans resurgence isn’t a fluke.” Stuart Berman of Pitchfork Media praised Gira’s efforts on the album, stating: “He’s responded in the best way possible: by producing a record that, in structure and scale, is every bit The Seer ’​s equal, yet possessed by a peculiar energy and spirit that proves all the more alluring in its dark majesty.” Rory Gibb of The Quietus wrote: “By this point they’ve further coalesced into an inseparable entity: on To Be Kind we experience Swans as totality, all seething ebb and flow, crafting music that seems to breathe of its own volition.” He also stated that the album’s songs “feel more fluid and open-ended than before, expressive and rich in possibility.”  Colm McAuliffe of The Skinny also gave the album a positive review, stating: “Despite the two-hour plus running time, Swans appear to be – gasp! – enjoying themselves; they’re still staring into the abyss but the abyss is no longer staring back.” He also noted that the album “displays much more diversity than its immediate predecessors.” Louis Pattison of Uncut wrote: “Yet as the name suggests, To Be Kind does feature a quality hithertorare in Swans: that of tenderness.” He also further stated: “Michael Gira is not only still moving forward, but making some of the albums of his career.”

Nevertheless, Jon Dennis of The Guardian was mixed in his assessment of the album, describing the album as “uncompromising to the point of overindulgence.”[

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It was a bit expensive, but worth it. Oddly enough it reminds me of P.I.L at times, and at others pick a post-rock outfit at random, and a bit of Slint. To be honest it doesn’t matter much though, I love it, that IS what matters.

8.4/10

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