Boomkat Product Review:
Michael Gira and co unleash energies pent by the pandemic and cancelled tour dates with an album recorded in Berlin and issued on the auspicious occasion of their debut LP’s 30th anniversary.
‘The Beggar’ is a typically doom-laden Swans album that finds salvation thru Gira’s classically country, folk-rock and gospel-styled vocals and his phalanx of collaborators, including erstwhile Swans bandmates and members of his Angels of Light ensemble, with Ben Frost handling his cinematic production.
For a towering highlight, we direct thee to its extraordinary 43 minute part ‘The Beggar Lover (Three)’, where the more classic arrangements give way to Swans’ feted avant instincts with pitching, cosmically-scoped and Roland Kayn-like strings introduce a mix of spoken word, thunderous banks of blast beat drums, head-less chorales and pure noir rock visions comparable with latter Scott Walker and Barry Adamson.
Micheal explains, “after numerous pandemic-induced cancellations of tours for the previous Swans album leaving meaning, and an apparent bottomless pit of waiting, waiting, waiting, and the strange disorientation that came with this sudden but interminable forced isolation I decided it was time to write songs for a new Swans album and forget about everything else. They came relatively easily, always informed by the suspicion that these could be my last. When I finally was able to travel, songs in hand, to Berlin to work with my friends recording this record, the feeling was akin to the moment in The Wizard of Oz when the film changes from Black and White to Color. Now I’m feeling quite optimistic. My favourite color is pink. I hope you enjoy the album.”