There. I said it.
There’s not really much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said.
I think it’s much better than The Seer, an album that I enjoyed but did not think much of.
In comparison to this album, The Seer feels much more like an experiment as to what does and doesn’t work. To be Kind is much more refined and tighter overall. It also sounds less dirty.
It really shows what Swans are capable of as a cohesive unit firing on all cylinders.
The album seems (to me) to be heavily dictated by blues and noise rock more than anything else, but I am probably wrong here.
Songs ebb and flow well. They don’t overstay their welcome and instrumentation is appropriate at all times.
Gira’s lyrics are Gira’s, as always. He punches in hard and pulls back whenever he sees it as appropriate. The words do not feel forced, cheesy or immature (not that they ever had been).
To be honest, I have no idea what he’s singing about, but I do get a strong feeling of comfort.
I found the drone sections to be very pleasant. They are reigned in a fair bit in comparison to The Seer, but this is a good thing. It allows the album to flow by smoothly by reducing the risk of over-indulgence; something very important given it’s running time.
I found that some of the songs on the second half brought out a really primal, raw fear in me that I thought only Throbbing Gristle could do.
I’d say that overall the album is really heavy due to the sum of it’s parts as opposed to being heavy for the sake of being heavy. Conversely, some of the songs have a sense of playfulness to them as well (A Little God in our Hands immediately comes to mind).
Something I noticed is that there is a repeated lyric of ‘Here, Now’ at the end of Screen Shot and the last Swans live album is called Not Here/Not Now. I’m probably reading too much into it, but it to me it seems to be a continuity link between the two works.
I’d recommend it to anyone. Even if you’re not a fan or have no interest in heavier music, it’s worth giving a shot.
I’d like to name a standout song but all of them are as equally good as each other.
And my apologies for such a poorly written review. It’s been a long time (roughly five years) since I wrote one and as I said earlier, there’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said.