Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home (Young God)
by Lex Marburger
A Michael Gira project is usually hard to define, be it Swans or be it The Angels of Light. You’re never sure what you’re listening to, or, rather, you’re never sure how to listen to it. Is it (capital A) Art, is it pure experimentation, is it a finely-crafted mood, or the morbid rantings of a verbose potential suicide?
Ok, before I start getting angry email from the fanatical fans of Young God Records (don’t laugh, they’re out there, and they’ll find you) about how Gira has put his past behind him, and doesn’t want albums like Filth compared to Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home, let me say this: I know, and I’m not. But if you really think about it, does this album sound significantly different from The Great Annihilator or Soundtracks for the Blind? Well, perhaps the use of flutes. But c’mon, you have common themes: One-chord tirades that layer and build to the point of bombast, almost-monotone scratched baritone vocals that leave the realm of lyrics and enter a dark poetry (“Rupture here inside my mouth, change water into mercury. It is not me… is not me… Draw the dirt up into my lungs. Lay down the crooked sulfur lines.” You tell me what that is).
Not to say that Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home is a bad or disappointing album. Far from it. It seems that in abandoning the Swans moniker, Gira has been able to approach his style in a fresh way, his repetition not morphing into tedium, his attitude brighter (brighter? Well, not as depressed, at least). Granted, this isn’t some album you can put on the stereo and only half listen to. It takes a lot of concentration and focus to hear the subtle fluctuations and nuances that peek out around the (falsely apparent) singular ideas the songs are based around. Example: In “Sunset Park” the lyrics are, “She brings some/She’ll bring some/She brings one/She’ll bring one” over and over. There is one dominant chord throughout, and one pseudo-military drumbeat. But as the song progresses, you begin to hear the multiple guitars poking around corners, atmospheric progressions that belie the appearance of a chanting drone. But you gotta pay attention, man.
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