Swans Dive (Once Again) Into Darkness
What would you think if you were sitting out on yer front porch just minding yer own biz, and all of a sudden the sky turned dark and the church bells from dozens of belfries across yer humble mid-sized town began pealing out at once for no reason at all?
As someone who spent all of my formative years just yards away from a Catholic church (and it’s bells, bells, bells), as someone who grew up believing that the devil was real and could jump out from beneath my parents’ bed waving their Ouiji board around at any moment, I’d be totally creeped out.
This is an intensely dark and yet beautiful collection of songs, unfettered by sentiment or superficiality, but threaded with Cormac McCarthy-style Christian allegory. You might think a record with a track titled “You Fucking People Make Me Sick” might veer off into unattractive self-righteousness, but listen closely to “Reeling The Liars In” and you’ll hear Michael Gira counting himself among the guilty. In a campfire hymnal, Gira sings of throwing the bodies of countless liars onto a bonfire, but adds “Here is my hand/ now drive the nail in/here is my tongue/now cut out my sin…”
Years ago, William S. Burroughs opened The Revolting Cocks elpee Linger-Fickin’ Good by asking “Hey kids, you want a soundtrack that’s gonna make you feel tense?” That wasn’t the one. The Swans’ My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is.