New Music: The Glowing Man by Swans

So what the hell can I write about this album? I was going to write about all my new albums I got this year on my thingy here but what happens when well, I’ll just going to make start and stop stuffing about. I’ll say right at the top of this post, it’s just not as great as the last two Swans albums: 2014’s To Be Kind and 2012’s The Seer. It’s still makes pretty amazing listening but it don’t quite top those last two albums. Thinking about that the comeback Swans album from 2010 called My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky was really, could be more like the last Angels Of Light album and/or then slowly moving into what the these “New” Swans was going the do. Maybe this new album The Glowing Man is leading off to what is going to be next. It’s not totally bad album or anything don’t get me wrong, then again those last two last albums are pretty much two of the greatest from the first half of this decade so maybe you should compare them but you do that naturally anyway with a new album. Now that’s out out the way I should dig a little deeper.

The Glowing Man has got totally unbelievable moments on it, the two faves for me is Frankie M and the title track. That’s a live version of The Glowing Man above and just warning you if you never listen to then before it’s half an hour long song so it’s the length of some another band’s whole albums. Those songs are from the second disc so yes it’s a double album and it’s third in a row for them too. So skip back to the start now: Disc one’s opening tracks Cloud Of Forgetting and then Cloud Of Unknowing are both building-up songs, you know what I mean? Or not? They’re like building the foundations here, the frame of a house then strarting to laying the brinks one after each other so they’re prefect for the first tracks. Next is The World Red/The World Looks Black which is a bit of thrown back to the 80’s, Gira the singer-songwriter wrote these lyrics and Sonic Youth used them in 1982 but here they have got totally different music but maybe still a little pointless it’s like why? Ending the disc one with People Like Us with the shortest song which leads into disc two and back to Frankie M. I notices for the vinyl the longer tracks are broken into part 1 and part 2 because you have to flip the record over. I’ve got the CD in my five disc player so it just flows to the next one just like I guess if you download it too. Maybe another reason I like the title track is it contains a section of the song Bring The Sun from the previous album, To Be Kind but re-worked into this whole new song but is that just yet another thrown back? So I usually like to talk about where things are done, you know where the recording are done so for this album it did taken place in Texas at Sonic Ranch and Elmwood Studios then moving to Seattle and Berlin mainly over the last year and early 2016.


I guess I have to say something about the song When Will I Return? now, Almost all reviews don’t ever talk about it or just pass over it but I’ve got to go there it’s a part of the album. It’s seems totally ironic but is that the right word? I’m opening a can of worms most don’t even want to now. So the song was record before what came out early this year. The main man and leader of the Swans, Micheal Gira was accused of rape by Larkin Grimm, who worked will Gira some years before on her album that came out on his own record label. I got to now included a link of his Facebook post on days around this time before his lawyer most likely told him to shut-up. So this was his post on Feb. 25 then after he did issued a statement and then Grimm respond to it and seem to go away a little now or to fade because then both party’s soon after started to released new music as musicians do. Grimm did released two tracks quickly after with Chasing An Illusion on Feb. 29  and I Don’t Believe on Mar. 8th. Gira had already this album done at the time and in the end it came out on June 17. Around the same time accusations he was booked to do him solo Aussie tour which I did already have tickets too, it was cancelled only a few days before hand but the rest of the tour has gone on just like normal. Anyway I think all this just has to be written about when writing about this album, even more so this track When Will I Return? because on it his wife Jennifer Gira sings a vocal based on about her being attack a few years ago. But Jennifer then defend her husband early this year, after Grimm’s accusations she jumped on Facebook to do so. Then the opening line of the song she sing “His hands are on my throat” then sung a very detail lyric about a man attacking a woman which wasn’t actually written by her but by her husband, “thanks honey” I can image her saying. So to say the very least and little about it, it’s very hard and difficult listening. I’m a fan of the Swans music but with all this you got to totally question it now. I guess some wouldn’t listen at all because of that but it’s such great music, I don’t listen to as much as before and now always it’s like catch 22. Or has he just taken the whole “difficult artist” to another level? Oh, I almost forgot the closing song Finally, Peace which is really just a nice way to finish the album off.

The Glowing Man track listing and times:

Disc one:
1. Cloud of Forgetting – 12:43
2. Cloud of Unknowing – 25:12
3. The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black (The World Looks Red (0:00-7:12), The World Looks Black (7:13-14:27)) – 14:27
4. People Like Us – 4:32
Disc two:
5. Frankie M – 20:58
6. When Will I Return? – 5:26
7. The Glowing Man (Bring The Sun intro (0:00-15:08), The Glowing Man (15:09-28:50)) – 28:50
8. Finally, Peace – 6:15
Total length: 118:23

This line-up after this album and the tour they’re currently on is to be disbanded. Gira’s gone on to say in a note on his label’s website “I’ll continue to make music under the name Swans… touring will definitely be less extensive” He’s now into his 60’s so that’s natural. Am I just biased? Because I got to see them live in 2013 before all this came out into the light plus that was also the time of The Seer/To Be Kind albums too so maybe that’s really why I love those albums so much. I don’t know but it’s got to be called a defining moment, there is always going to be a before and now after. That’s yet another reason why I’ve also waited so long to write anything here too, I’m never quick with these new albums anyway but this one has so much more shit to go with it, that’s really the wrong word but I hope you know what I mean? Sorry to say this it’s really not bad music but I’m only going to rate it three out of five, now say “goodnight” boys!


p.s. I think it’s good time to do a Michael Gira, Swans and The Angels Of Light top tens for one of my next posts, maybe I can get it done for tomorrow or the next day.


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