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Wild Swans Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 Aug 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Renascent
  • ASIN: B0000BZYR8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,377 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Revolutionary Spirit
2. God Forbid
3. Flowers of England
4. The Iron Bed
5. Opium
6. Now You're Perfect
7. No Bleeding
8. Enchanted
9. Thirst
10. The Revolutionary Spirit (US version)
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Northern England
2. Now And Forever
3. Crowning Glory
4. Holy Spear
5. Broken Home
6. Infidel
7. God Forbid (live)
8. Miracle Heart (live)
9. Now You're Perfect (slow) (live)
10. Hour Of Need (live)
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

The first 2 tracks - The Revolutionary Spirit and God Forbid - were the band's first release (produced by Pete De Freitas of Echo And The Bunnymen fame who also played drums). It was on the Zoo label and is considered by legendary label boss Bill Drummond to be the best single he released. Tracks 3 to 6 were recorded as a session for the Kid Jensen show on BBC Radio 1 and were broadcast on March 23rd 1982. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 were recorded as a session for the John Peel show (also on Radio 1) on May 1st 1982 and were broadcast on May 13th. They were subsequently released as the first 'Peel Sessions' mini album in 1986. The unreleased US stereo versions of Revolutionary Spirit and God Forbid were thought to have been lost (the original version of Revolutionary Spirit is in mono) and have just been discovered on an unmarked acetate.

BONUS CD Tracks 1 to 4 were recorded as a session for the Janice Long show on BBC Radio 1 and were broadcast on Oct 8th 1986. Northern England and Now And Forever appear (in completely different versions) on Bringing Home The Ashes, the first Sire album. Crowning Glory mutated into a song called Whirlpool Heart (also on Bringing Home The Ashes and also significantly different). Holy Spear has never been released. Broken Home is a demo from just before they signed to Sire and Infidel is an early demo. Tracks 7 to 12 were recorded live in December 1981 (the last night of the UK tour supporting Echo And The Bunnymen).The version of Now You're Perfect is much slower than the later one on CD1 and Fruits Of The Earth is an early version of Flowers Of England.


**** A magnificent artifact -- Glasgow Herald, July 19th 2003

...two CDs that swell, soar, ache and amaze -- Careless Talk Costs Lives, Aug 2003

Incandescent is all your Christmases come early and no mistake. 10/10 -- whisperinandhollerin.com, Aug 2003

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incandescent: Transcendent 17 May 2005
Format:Audio CD
This is music of stunning beauty and originality. Wonderfully brought together for the first time, in an intelligent, informative and attractive package by those hipsters at Renascent.
The Wild Swans, defintely not to be confused with The Swans, have been seriously overlooked in the pantheon of Liverpool bands which includes Teardrop Explodes and the Bunnymen.
The thing that perhaps comes across most vividly in these songs is the emotinal quality of the songwriting and the singing.
There are three versions available here of the sublime "The Revolutionary Spirit", maybe their best known song. It's worth the price of admission in itself. but add to that other outstanding songs such as "Northern England", "Opium" and (a personal favourite) "Broken home" and you have a collection rare in it's transcendent glory.
The songs have the surge and adrenalin rush of Teadrdrop Explodes, underpinned by a subtle melancholic streak and a heartbreaking honesty and integrity, that is rare.
In terms of the sound it's chiming, jangling guitars, shimmering harmonics, propulsive rhythms and melodies to swoon to.
Go get it, then check out the rest of the Renascent catalogue that features the seminal The Sound.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better 20 years late than never! 27 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Well worth the 20 year wait for a Wild Swans album! Paul Simpson's haunting vocals sound better than ever.This band could have been huge. Great value as you get a bonus CD with live tracks from the 1981 Bunnymen tour. A must for anyone who was in the Armadillo Tearooms, Liverpool, in the early 1980's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liverpool's Long Lost Band gets another Life 10 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
As one of the great "lost" bands of the Liverpool scene, it is surprising that it has taken so long for the Wild Swans early material to appear on CD for the first time. .
The brainchild of Paul Simpson, the band formed in 1980 and created a unique and distinctive sound based around by Kelly's jangling guitars, Quinn's chiming piano and bed-rock synthesis, and crowned by Simpson's post-Romantic lyrics and brooding delivery. An opportunity arose when Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen (an old friend and flatmate of Simpson's) agreed to fund their first single "The Revolutionary Spirit" (1982, Zoo Records). De Freitas, who ended up financier, drummer and producer for the single, was credited under his middle names, Louis Vincent. Despite turning out to be Zoo's last ever, the single received a measure of critical acclaim and in time, developed cult status, capturing the youthful optimism that existed on the Liverpool indie scene in those early days of post-punk. The Wild Swans were sporadically active in the early 1980s; touring with Echo and The Bunnymen in 1981 following a residency with The Teardrop Explodes.
The Wild Swans are organically grown and derived from early 1980's Liverpool suburbia and squalid squat flats, yet have recorded and released some of the prettiest and most amazing pop songs ever committed to vinyl. Much like Liverpudlians, The Pale Fountains, Paul Simpson and his treasure chest of treasures carved a path through the misty-eyed wonderlands of elegiac songs and failed sales. Together with the Pale fountains they are possibly the last post-punk obscurity to bid for a belated 15 minutes of reformation fame, The Wild Swans were more beautifully obscure than most.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Band ........ever!!1 18 Jun 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Others have reviewed this brilliant compilation, suffice to say Revoluntary Spirit/God Forbid is still the greatest single released in the history of music, and No Bleeding is mindblowing.

However just of as much importance is the fact that Paul Simpson is singing again and there is a new Wild Swans single with live dates and album to follow!!
ENGLISH ELECTRIC LIGHTNING is the title and it is like they have never been away, with so much dross around you would be foolish not to introduce or reintroduce yourself to Englands greatest lost band.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Songs that might have changed your life. 2 Feb 2004
By Lypo Suck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Liverpool, England was a hip place to be in the early 80's. Quickly following Manchester's lead, Liverpool's scene, centered around Bill Drummond's Zoo label, produced some wildly talented, original bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, who became household names. Others, like the Wild Swans, were relegated to cult obscurity. But what sets the Wild Swans apart is the fiercely rabid cult following that grew around their lone early 80s single, "Revolutionary Spirit." Web searches turn up gushing praise from old-fart New Wavers who hold this single close to their hearts, and Bill Drummond cites it as "the best track Zoo ever produced." But for 20 years, your only chances of finding this rarity were to stumble upon an out-of-print Zoo compilation or locate the elusive single itself. Luckily, it's finally been preserved on CD with 2 discs full of previously unreleased BBC Sessions, demos, and live cuts.

This isn't quite the same Wild Swans who's good but slightly over-produced melodic pop you probably heard on your local alternative radio station in 1988. This is the sound of four young, angsty, drugged-out hipsters banging out impassioned pop with a blurry energy like there's no tomorrow. Produced in a fit of extra-curricular activity by Bunnymen drummer Pete de Freitas (who also played drums on it), the single perfectly captures their intense, nave youthful energy. Crucial to the sound is guitarist Jem Kelly's intricate, melodic, shimmering style; a bit like Richard Lloyd's artsy, English cousin, or Robin Guthrie on speed. Paul Simpson's dramatic singing adds to the desperate urgency. "Revolutionary Spirit," with its lush verses and stunning, driving chorus, perfectly embodies what the pop end of English post-punk was all about; bold, romantic, wildly catchy, artful, moody, and played with a sense of urgency only early 20-somethings can conjure. The b-side, "God Forbid," is just as riveting, with a similarly surging energy and beautiful, melodic hooks. The verses' upbeat pop and infectious guitar melodies (copied ad nauseam by every C-86/twee band that ever existed) contrast the dramatic, dark, pummeling chorus. Whether you get this music or not, there's no denying its seminal impact, even on 3rd generation indie-pop kids who probably never heard it.

Contributing to "Rev. Spirit's" cult mystique is the youthful, DIY naivety of its production. Clearly not a seasoned producer, de Freitas accidentally mixed the single in mono and recorded the levels way too "hot", resulting in audible distortion in the songs' louder sections. Adding insult to injury, de Freitas took the master tapes to New York on a US Bunnymen tour to have them remixed, and lost them (to this day they've never surfaced). Renascent unearthed a test pressing of the single and digitally re-mastered it, eliminating some of the distortion. They also included the stereo remixes from NY (that somehow made it back home), which, despite improved sonic clarity, lack the unique urgency of the original.

So, was there enough good material to justify a 2-disc compilation? The first disc, containing everything they did around the time of "Rev Spirit," is pretty consistent. Several tunes reach the highs of the single, like "The Iron Bed," "Flowers of England," and "Now You're Perfect," - all soaring and beautiful, with Kelly's sparkly, hands-on-fire lead-melodic guitar, Simpson's melodramatic singing, and their trademark bruising drums. Even the flanger-laden instrumental filler "Thirst" is fairly engaging.

Disc two loses steam, but still its moments, like the Peel Sessions and demos recorded in '86 after the band returned from a lengthy hiatus. "Northern England" and "Now and Forever" were re-recorded for their '88 LP "Bringing Home the Ashes," but the slightly rough, stripped-down versions here might be more appealing since they contrast "Ashes'" slick production. Disc 2's second half rounds up early live tracks played by the original line up, which although energetic and well-played, suffer from bootleg quality sound. The live stuff isn't essential to me, but I'm sure someone out there is drooling all over it. Disc 2 ends with a boombox recording of the band in rehearsal, hashing out a new, pre-vocals tune.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars phew, is anyone still reading? 15 May 2004
By Yves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Revolutionary Spirit and God Forbid are perfect, beautiful pop songs. It is impossible to explain, but hear them and you should get an idea. I know almost nothing about The Wild Swans except that in the summer of 1982, as an 18-year-old spotty punk in a village by the sea in southern England, they touched me in a way no other songs have done, before or since.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost complete... 9 Dec 2003
By V. Holguin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a must album for those fans who have been in love with Paul Simpson and his deep, melodic voice through the years. "Incandescent" is the collection of the Wild Swans, and I say incomplete because I want more of them!
What attracted to to their music was the deepness of their lyrics to social strife, and whatever ills we have of our personhood. The tracks of Revolutionery Spirit are great to compare each other too. I had only heard their very first cut off the album which is no longer, and feel in love then and there. Hearing all the other tracks brought me back to the 80's and a scan of my life from then til now. "God Forbid" is probably my favorite track, although each and every song is fantastic. I cannot say enough about the music.
This is a must also for James fans, another group from the Liverpool area. I always put them and the Wild Swans together.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wild about the Swans 6 Nov 2006
By L. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have to admit the first time I listened to this CD I was lukewarm about it. Then when I woke up the next morning, I couldn't get it out of my mind. That's the way it is with music that isn't superficial; once it takes hold, it's powerful stuff. If I had to describe the songs of the Wild Swans it would be as soundtrack to a pleasant dream, the kind where you find yourself floating in the sky. The instrumentation is richly layered with a strange intensity; the singing of front man Paul Simpson has a distant surreal quality. I'm giving this CD 4 stars instead of 5 because of various technical flaws with some of the original recordings, which were apparently done on a shoestring budget. If you can get past that, though, the songs themselves are amazing. Thanks go to Renascent for giving us a chance to hear another great forgotten band of the 1980s!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Incandescent' enlightens... 19 April 2006
By Dumas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have loved the Swans since my Danceteria days in early 80s New York. But its a fitful, frustrating love. You get the sense from 'Incandesent' that the Swans forgot to stop partying. That they never took the time to put together more than a handful of songs. Oh, but what songs they were. This collection is for completists and aging post-punker (like myself) who wished they'd shared a pint with the boys back when simply getting stoned was a subversive act. Its a nice collection of beautiful, quirky oddities here. But a few gems are missing "Holy Holy", "1982", "World of Milk and Blood" come to mind. Maybe on an 'Ashes' reissue. In the meantime, scoop this up. Simpson & Company deserve the attention. If you really care about the band, buy it directly from their label, Renascent. That way the company (and the band) can make a few pennies. Maybe enough to mine the crates for a second hits collection.
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