Swans – The Seer album review



written by
Chris Bretecher

I am a traveler, music écouteur, designer, and builder of things I design (see previous trait). When not traveling, I am listening to music, designing, and building things I design (see previous activity).

If you are unfamiliar with the Swans, (active since 82, minus their brief 13 year hiatus) think Crash Test Dummies meets Buddhist meditation mantra. (It should be noted however that the Swans have been around since before the Crash Test Dummies, and front man Michael Gira may be older than Buddhism!)

The Swans latest album, The Seer (Young God Records), is two hours of experimental, droning, rock music that actually has the ability to hypnotize you into swallowing your own head. In other words this album is extremely difficult to describe, and listening to it should not be taken lightly. The album contains some notable guest vocals, particularly Jarboe, part of the original band line up from the 80s, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

With the exceptionally lengthy tracks we probably won’t be hearing many of these songs on the radio (title track The Seer, clocks in at 32.14). The Seer is both a comeback album and a best off album, in that it combines the collective experiences and musical knowledge that the Swans and Gira himself have acquired over the past serval decades. If you can muster the musical fortitude to listen to this entire album, then the only thing that could possibly be more exciting is experiencing it performed live, a task even more portentous and risky than listening to the album while taking a blindfolded stroll through the jungle at night in a meat-suit.


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