10 Songs, 2 Hours 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

At two hours in length, To Be Kind shows Michael Gira’s Swans are as serious, demanding and extreme in 2014 as they were back in the early ‘80s when their music was either greatly praised or harshly condemned. There is little middle ground for this group and anyone spooked by the 12-1/2 minute Howlin’ Wolf Tribute “Just A Little Boy” should probably not go forward. However, for fans of slow, gothic, death-rattle Swans, the track is just one sign that the band’s sessions with John Congleton at Sonic Ranch, outside El Paso, Texas were an overwhelming success. Much of the material was developed live during the tours of 2012-13 and explains why there is so much to sift through. Special guests such as Little Annie, who duets with Gira on “Some Things We Do,” Cold Specks, whose multi-tracked vocals guide “Bring the Sun” and honorary Swan Bill Rieflin filled out the sessions that were recorded with a solid sextet in place. “A Little God In My Hands” adds a touch of Krautrock to its elliptical groove. The 34-minute “Bring the Sun/ Tousaaint L’Ouverture” is a complex epic worthy of their reputation. 

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At two hours in length, To Be Kind shows Michael Gira’s Swans are as serious, demanding and extreme in 2014 as they were back in the early ‘80s when their music was either greatly praised or harshly condemned. There is little middle ground for this group and anyone spooked by the 12-1/2 minute Howlin’ Wolf Tribute “Just A Little Boy” should probably not go forward. However, for fans of slow, gothic, death-rattle Swans, the track is just one sign that the band’s sessions with John Congleton at Sonic Ranch, outside El Paso, Texas were an overwhelming success. Much of the material was developed live during the tours of 2012-13 and explains why there is so much to sift through. Special guests such as Little Annie, who duets with Gira on “Some Things We Do,” Cold Specks, whose multi-tracked vocals guide “Bring the Sun” and honorary Swan Bill Rieflin filled out the sessions that were recorded with a solid sextet in place. “A Little God In My Hands” adds a touch of Krautrock to its elliptical groove. The 34-minute “Bring the Sun/ Tousaaint L’Ouverture” is a complex epic worthy of their reputation. 

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
124 Ratings

124 Ratings

Rick Marshall1 ,

A message to those who don’t understand

To Be Kind is only $16 (Not $20 like a previous reviewer has thought) because of how long this album is. The album is over 2 hours long, and is a double album because of its length. So it is being priced like that. Think before you give a bad review.

gdfs etgegt ,

If this album was an animal it'd be a mammoth

I've found that it's kind of difficult to describe this album without using expletives. Unfortunately iTunes doesn't allow that in these reviews, so I'll try my best here. For starters, it's friggin' massive. The amount of sound packed into the majority of these tracks is insane. It's inhuman. It's filled with total primal energy. All you need to do is listen to the first minute and a half of A Little God In My Hands and you'll realize exactly what is you're getting yourself into. The track starts off somewhat straight forward with this heavy and slightly funky bass line, but once you get comfortable with that the track gets unexpectedly ripped apart by this harsh, cacophonous noise. And that's really the essence of this album. Comfort and discomfort, tension and release. The tracks build and build up into something totally different from what they started out as. It really is a strong contender for album of the year for me. And after spending over a month with this monster I can tell that it'll be high up on my list of favorite albums of the decade. Easily a 10/10. Oh, and She Loves Us is easily the best track on the album and song of the year INMHO. Listen if you have the stomach for it.

St. Francis of Assisi ,

Masterpiece

This album is a masterpiece in so many ways. It represents a real cognitive musical effort that deserves and demands in depth listening and sppreciation. Go into this album with the mentality to listen for long term builds and motifs, and find yourself astounded.

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