Swans: The Seer Review (Three Takes)

3 Responses

  1. Interesting to see that of the three reviewers, none seemed particularly familiar with Swans’ back catalogue. To be fair, they make this absolutely clear.

    Had this been the first record I heard bearing the name ‘Swans’, I would never have ventured further.

    Although Gira claims it to be a ‘culmination of thirty years of work’, I hear very little of what made me go to great lengths to devour the band’s entire back catalogue. That’s saying something, as said back catalogue is diverse enough for many fans to reject large sections of it while embracing others.

    I found an intensity and depth of conviction in most (not all – some of it was indeed excessive bluster and pummeling) of their output, varied as it may be, that compelled me to take notice.

    I find none of this in The Seer.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s intense, but in an over-earnest way. As some of the reviewers have rightfully noticed. If I want ponderous and over-earnest, I’ll dig out a Roger Waters album. Not that I own any, mind.

    Too many guest musicians, not enough songs, too much repetition for repetition’s sake and far too damn long.

    I’m glad that Michael’s finally getting some money. It’s a shame he had to relegate the Swans name in order to do so. That’s his prerogative at the end of the day.

    I’m sure The Seer will be his most commercially successful record. To me, that’s a real shame. Though if it makes more people track down a copy of Children Of God then that’s a good thing.

    Wanted to love it. Couldn’t even like it. Shame

  2. Josh says:

    A fourth take, if you will. Thanks for the spirited comment.

    Other than Children of God, what other Swans stuff do you recommend for those who aren’t familiar?

  3. Adam Bubolz says:

    I guess I didn’t really go into it, but I am a Swans fan from the first albums on. However, the early albums fall somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as my favorites. Before the reunion albums my favorite material was the very end of the band. Soundtrack For The Blind, while a bit excessive, really did the most for me especially where tracks like “Helpless Child” were taking things.

    So I’m a Swans fan all the way through, but might be a minority who prefers the later work to the pummeling of the early days.

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