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Music

Swans are still lord of their own impossible mountain

Album review: Swans’ ‘To Be Kind’

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Swans
To Be Kind
Young God Records
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

Even in resurrection and comeback, Swans don’t fuck around. This is their third new major work since their 2010 reunion and their second double-album in a row. And sonically and stylistically, they’re still lords of their own impossible mountain. Album opener “Screenshot” is an incantatory loop that eventually rises to a raging fever pitch as the chant distills into a powerfully commanding “here, now.” From there, their noise-drone colossus once again surveys the hypnotic, savage beauty that’s their domain alone, across revelations like the tribal rock dynamism of “She Loves Us,” the 34-minute badlands epic “Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture,” the locomotive provocation of “Oxygen” and the swerving dive of “Nathalie Neal.” Like nihilistic masters of the universe, Swans continue their monolithic march toward an exhilaratingly unsettled eternity.

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