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Swans - The Burning World CD (album) cover

THE BURNING WORLD

Swans

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.42 | 22 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Just what kind of sound are you looking for from the Swans on this album? Is it the wall of dirty noise from the early days or is it the prog post punk from the more recent sound? Well if it's either one of these, you won't find that sound here. This one is very different from any sound they have produced so far. Coming off the success of their cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", Swans were signed to a major label, and this was an attempt of recording accessible music. What resulted was a sort of post punk indie folk rock, which really isn't as bad as some would have you believe, but which doesn't always hold up very well. Think of alt-country performed by Bauhaus and you'll get a pretty good idea of how this sounds. No prog here, I'm afraid. But the songs that work really sound pretty good.

Things start out sounding really promising and interesting. Michael Gira sings most of the songs on here in his usual deep Bauhaus sounding voice. The first two tracks make you think that this is a legitimate attempt, but the cover of the Blind Faith song "Can't Find My Way Home" as sung by Jarboe is really lacking any emotion or direction and just plain sounds boring. Next comes "Mona Lisa, Mother Earth" which reminds me of an early "Dead Can Dance" sound, back when they were gothic, except with the stronger vocals of there present sound, and it works well. Then there is some aimless wandering in the middle of the album. The next vocal by Jarboe is another great song and it sounds much better and believable than her other attempt on this album. The rest of the tracks on the album are more of the same with some substandard unfocused songs with a few minor highlights.

When I finish listening to this album, I feel like for the most part, I've heard a lot of music that was a decent attempt at accessible music as much as Swans could make accessible music. Michael Gira is not happy with this album and says there wasn't a lot of communication between the members during the recording of the album which results in it's unfocused and unemotional feeling. I think he might be a little hard on himself, there are some good songs here if you are looking for more of an indie-folk or alternative country sound, but not all of them are good. The substandard songs are exactly that. I would say half is good and successful at what they were trying to do , but the other half do bring the quality of the album down. One thing for sure, it is very hard to believe this is the same band that produced the extremely loud, churning and chunky music from their previous albums. So, if you are not looking for prog, then you, like me, would probably find this good, but non-essential. Half good, half bad, no prog.

TCat | 3/5 |

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