Genius is an over-used word, and I am not sure if Sufjan Stevens is worthy of it or not. However, one thing is for sure, and that is the fact that he is the closest that I have come to it for many a year.
'Seven Swans' is sparse compared to the later, equally magnificent, offerings that have kicked his American States project off,but there is something very special about the sparser approach on this album - an album on which the troubadour finally found his voice.
The lyrics are as original, off-beat and downright quirky as ever, while the simple melodies are totally beguiling. It could so easily cross the line into the awful territories of twee, but it is the way that Sufjan Stevens walks this tightrope perfectly that makes him a rare talent.
Who would have thought that intense pop songs featuring acoustic guitar and banjo could be so engrossing? A record that puts a smile on my face every time I play it, and what more could I ask for? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED