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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Swans EP

Released : 1982, 1990 (remastered and reissued - appended to Filth reissue)
Genre : No Wave, Noise rock, Post-punk, Experimental, Industrial
Length : 19:23
Label : Labor Records, Young God Records
Producer : Michael Gira

Swans' first release was anything but the slow-motion death march which would rapidly become the band's early raison d'être. Gira's lyrics certainly aren't pretty; the urban angst and alienation level ratchets up high with images of dogs' hearts pumping blood on sidewalks and anonymous, violent sex, though all delivered in a slightly aggrieved and quietly mixed rather than soul-destroyed tone. However, the music also often has a quick, sharp energy to it, rather unlike the 2/2 tempos in the offing. An unavoidable influence in the crisp, echoed production and general feel is Joy Division, a debt not repaid fully until Swans' dual covers of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in 1988. Hints of other post-punk and no wave peers creep in as well, a feeling especially created by Daniel Galli-Duani's saxophone, which generally avoids random skronk for careful shading and atmosphere. Bob Pezzola's guitar work is the standout here, though; his Bernard Sumner-ish art-metal chiming is quite good, but utterly unlike the blasts of sound Norman Westberg would soon be unleashing in his place. On balance, this is a fair release covering a sound that Swans would never again revisit.


1. Laugh
2. Speak
3. Take Advantage
4. Sensitive Skin


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