Swans
My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 14th, 2011 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A heavily diverse concoction by Swans filled to the brim with complex layering, astounding production, and ominous undertones.

My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky is the culmination of several dark atmospheric rock essentials. The swaying rhythms and mystifying aura are presented with a newfound potency that allows Swans to alternate between their artistically crafted mask of anonymity and forthright delivery of some of the most abrasive, shocking moments you will hear in music. Relentlessly overwhelming in its sound, the album grasps one’s ears and mind alike, leading them into a twisted, blackened skyline on a rope as long as the imagination can fancy.

The perfection achieved almost immediately by “No Worlds/No Thoughts” is a prime indicator of just how high Swans can take you. Although clad with haunting bells, jet engines, and heavy distortion, the song is mostly propelled by its constantly shifting momentum and unrelenting, perpetually heavy percussion. It all makes My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky feel less like a journey to the heavens and more like a slow plummet into the depths of hell.

Fortunately, Swans meet the expectations set by themselves right from the get-go with results that transcend merely admirable and enter the realms of awe-inspiring, breathtakingly majestic, and downright frightening. From the eerily hummed, bubble-obscured opening of “Little Mouth” to the quiet complacency of “Reeling the Liars In”, there is nary a letdown across the album’s runtime as Swans bombard their listeners with one astonishing moment after another while changing styles and tempos with relative ease.

Perhaps the album’s greatest strength lies within its sheer diversity – and its ability to hone in on all of those extremely varying styles to establish a tangibly cohesive atmosphere. For all of the post-rock rises and falls, valleys and crescendos, inhales and exhales…My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky never even begins to feel tired and it certainly doesn’t becomes repetitive. The weariness that some listeners feel during the record would be likened to watching a movie so intense that you temporarily lose your bearings, having been swept up in the emotionally traumatic or cathartic scenes that have been brilliantly woven together to have just that effect. Swans’ latest work is no different – it is intense, extremely detailed and intricate, and it allows your mind to run away with itself on more than one occasion.

From one song to the next, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky is constantly proving its worth. The moody electric guitars, gloomy snyth, and heavy but assorted drumming techniques never come across as labored, despite the oppressive effect they can have. The instrumentals alone can even carry the album on occasion (“Inside Madeline”), with Michael Gira’s vocals only entering the picture when he sees fit. Gira’s deep sound offers up moments of booming authority as well as soothing lullabies, and the unwavering conviction accompanying his delivery is a major reason why the album feels so bold at times. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky is a just that: a bold album full of just about everything in Swans’ arsenal to date, and it dares the listener to climb that rope just a little bit more and discover all of the beauty within this dark, clearly unstable opus.



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user ratings (630)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
joshuatree EMERITUS (4)
Swans return, bigger and more frightening than ever...

dominics (3.5)
Hopefully, it won't take listeners too far up....

CryptcSlaughter10 (4)
"SWANS ARE NOT DEAD" - Gira produces another stunning album...

PsychicChris (4.5)
Swans' first album in nearly fifteen years makes for yet another amazing comeback....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

meh.

FadeToBlack
January 14th 2011


11044 Comments


agreed

Mordecai.
January 14th 2011


8356 Comments


if this was METAL i would download it from a BLOG and 5 it

Ponton
Emeritus
January 14th 2011


6137 Comments


good stuff sowing

Digging: Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Xeno, Observer



And Jared I don't think I ever congratulated you on being staffed, I tried to stay as far away from that drama trainwreck as possible. But either way, it was well deserved so cheers (I'm not British but I'm trying that word out)

Mordecai.
January 14th 2011


8356 Comments


nice one chap

SloppyMilkshake
January 14th 2011


981 Comments


Fucking love this record. Saw Swans a few months ago, they were breathtaking. The show also left me deaf.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'm not comfortable with mate yet. I'll get there...I'll get there.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2011


32190 Comments


Good work skipper

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2011


7503 Comments


You wrote this in twenty minutes? I'm jealous of you, old chap.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Deviant = )



And yeah, 20 minutes...I'll admit I took an extra 5 or 6 minutes afterwards to read it back to myself though

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2011


7503 Comments


I spend 20 minutes just thinking what summary to use.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Usually I take longer than this, and it wasn't intentional, everything i wanted to say just came to me

Romulus
January 14th 2011


8479 Comments


i spend twenty minutes willing myself to write something...

great review as always, i liked the album too

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 14th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Romulus! I'm glad you liked this, it definitely blew me away

Nagrarok
January 15th 2011


8546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is very convincing Sowing... but would I like it?

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 15th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Umm...I can't say I have a strong inclination one way or the other as to whether you'd like this Nagrarok, but I would recommend one full listen to anyone

Nagrarok
January 15th 2011


8546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, since you always write great reviews I can't help feeling guilty over never actually listening to something you write about. So I'm going to change that.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 15th 2011


25040 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

haha thanks man, i hope it's worth it in the end

Jethro42
January 15th 2011


15127 Comments


I know, everyone is saying cheers and I'm starting to pick it up too! That and "mate," lol.

More often than not, I more or less randomly use English words that I see most often, so my poor English may sound at best phonetically (often involuntarily) quite varied, and at worst rather rambling héhéhé. My diction is way better written than spoken so enjoy!
I like very much No Words/No Thoughts, so I'll keep an eye on this. Pos'd



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