The Angels of Light
How I Loved You


4.0
excellent

Review

by SAPoodle USER (55 Reviews)
March 24th, 2013 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Goodbye Jane"

Michael Gira is a man who revels in misery. After his uncompromisingly brutal work with Swans in the 1980s (which remains some of the heaviest music ever recorded), Gira turned to more subdued forms of anguish and depression in the following decade. Proving that he didn’t necessarily have to be loud to get his point across, Swans became rooted in dark, psychedelic folk rock for a few albums before exploring the worlds of drone, post-rock and ambient music on their 1996 opus Soundtracks for the Blind. That album would signal the end of Swans until their surprising reunion in 2010, and it was during this period that Michael Gira began a new project known as The Angels of Light.

The Angels of Light took a far more song-based approach than Swans, focusing on melody and harmony rather than cacophonous noise and jarring rhythms. Dabbling in folk and country music, their 1999 debut album New Mother only hinted at what was to come a couple of years later. Whereas New Mother featured a massive 17 songs, How I Loved You almost equals its colossal 70-odd minute runtime in only 10 tracks. The reason for this lies in the latter’s ability to allow the songs to grow and sprawl over Gira’s barren soundscapes. Opener “Evangeline” almost effortlessly combines country with post-rock, a weird combination to say the least, but it works perfectly. The song builds slowly, subtly going from a simple acoustic guitar riff into an emotional climax with the full band, and the line “I can feel it now” being repeated as the music dies down. It’s a wonderful start to the album and this continues into “Untitled Love Song,” replete with female vocals and beautiful melodies.

“My True Body,” however, bears more in common with Swans due to the dark subject matter and occasionally shouted vocals. “New City in the Future” is another sinister-sounding track that erupts towards the end of its 12 minutes with Gira screaming “You were mine” like a madman. This forms the centrepiece of the album and unfortunately sets in motion the few mediocre numbers that follow, with “New York Girls” being the chief culprit. It’s not a bad song by any means, but it doesn’t really go anywhere to justify its length. Thankfully the best is saved for last with “Two Women,” perhaps the most brilliant song in the whole Angels of Light discography. Like the opener, it’s a sprawling epic that builds towards a magnificent climax. This time around, though, the real beauty is contained within the final minute as the music begins to fade away and Gira mutters the words “I can’t live without you... goodbye Jane.” That moment alone makes the whole album worth getting through, even though there are some typically oppressive and even frightening moments to withstand.

How I Loved You marked the end of an era for The Angels of Light, as the next few releases slowly began to realise the sound that would lead to the eventual reformation of Swans. Nevertheless, this album remains the pinnacle of the band’s work and it would take Michael Gira another 11 years before his potential was this fully realised again.



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user ratings (169)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
YankeeDudel
March 24th 2013


9342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh niceeee. i was just talkin bout this band. how did this not have a review. good job pos for u

MrElmo
March 24th 2013


1955 Comments


Only heard one 10 minute track from this band, an amazing one yet didn't go any further

SAPoodle
April 7th 2013


713 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is hard to listen to all the way through, especially that mid-section, but getting to Two Women pretty much makes it all worth it.

Veldin
May 5th 2014


3889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Insanely amazing album. Needs moar love.

BigPleb
May 20th 2014


59911 Comments


sounds cool

Butkuiss
September 23rd 2014


4616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Two Women is one of the most haunting songs ever written.

Supercoolguy64
April 4th 2015


9100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is good yea

Digging: Cryptopsy - None So Vile

Supercoolguy64
August 22nd 2015


9100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

untitled love song is very :]

BrushedRed
October 22nd 2015


3196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never knew this was related to Swans. Weird. I love this but loathe Swans.



"Evangeline" almost brings me to tears each time. Gorgeous song.

Digging: Liturgy - H.A.Q.Q.

alienobserver
November 2nd 2015


4494 Comments


seasonal jam

Supercoolguy64
December 8th 2015


9100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i should listen to this more

NeroCorleone80
February 4th 2016


34617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My Suicide is amazing

NeroCorleone80
June 4th 2016


34617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd take this over most Swans. Children of God and Soundtracks being the exceptions.

BrushedRed
July 5th 2016


3196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so much better than Swans. I almost didn't know this was Michael Gira. He should stick to country. And I don't even like country music (at least not new country). This is lovely.

NorthernSkylark
January 17th 2017


9564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album

Digging: Matthew Shipp - Zero

bach
March 15th 2017


16278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

while i lay dying upon some bed

i hope that you remember this

the only one i want to see is you

GhandhiLion
September 16th 2018


6125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Way better than To be Kind and The Seer

Digging: Nameless Creations - Hate Creates

Earl55551
November 10th 2018


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Although I like Swans, I find it quite difficult to really get into their albums. Not that they are too 'gloomy' for my taste, I really love the dark aspect of them, but it can get sort of bland after 30 minutes. This, however, is like keeping the depressing numbness, the hopelessness of most Swans records with some beautiful country accompaniment that helps paint the atmosphere. Until I've listened to this, I would have said it's impossible to combine Gira and country but this has proven me wrong. A terrific record, if you haven't given it a listen, I strongly recommend that you do, and that you pay attention to the lyrics

J() Alexander
November 10th 2018


7913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just as good as The Seer tbh.

HiItsMeAgain
August 3rd 2019


13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

U were MIIIIIINEE!!!!



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