Swans are back with new album “Leaving Meaning”: review

Michael Gira is back in town with a new Swans record. What’s different this time is Gira has a new cast of characters playing on the record, along with a few old-school Swans and Angels Of Light veterans that he brought back in after a long absence. Gira kindly detailed the list of musicians on and the mission of Leaving Meaning on the Young God Records website (where you can also order the record, but more on that below).

D.U. is partial to the tracks with more of an edge, which describes much of the record, like “The Hanging Man,” “Amnesia,” “Sunfucker,” “Cathedrals Of Heaven,” and “Some New Things.” Tracks that sounds out of place on this record are “It’s Coming It’s Real” and “What Is This,” which have sort of a pop-from-yesteryear feel. Still, besides that, current (as opposed to early) Swans fans should appreciate the expansive, delicate soundscapes, creepiness, and Gira’s twist on music in general found on Leaving Meaning. He has a way of writing with a structure that, while “repeats” from the last few records might not be the right way to say it, will be familiar.

Lyrically, it’s the surrealist, blunt expression that Swans fans are used to, with lines such as “I’m the avatar of your semen and I’m screaming” and “My tongue will turn black from tasting your spit” and “I am a dog, I eat the moon.”

Perhaps the best Swans record since the band reformed in 2010 is the second one, The Seer (of course that’s up for debate), but hear the new one for yourself. Decibel has the whole new record streaming as well as a Q&A with Gira. D.U. has been looking forward to hearing it. Bottom line is that if you like the direction Swans has been going in, Leaving Meaning is recommended.

Leaving Meaning is out now on Young God Records. You can get it on double vinyl or double CD with fancy packaging and digitally. At the former link there’s some photos and rehearsal footage.

Related: We previously reported on the Swans album The Glowing Man.

Gira photo: Jennifer Gira; CD animation: D.U.


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