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To Be Kind [VINYL] Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

Price: £23.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Frequently Bought Together

  • To Be Kind [VINYL]
  • +
  • The Seer (Bonus One DVD)
  • +
  • White Light from the Mouth of Infinity/Love of Life
Total price: £51.38
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Product details

  • Vinyl (14 May 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Mute
  • ASIN: B00J0REDI4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,085 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

Swans, led by Michael Gira, formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with the critically acclaimed albums 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky' (2010) and 2012's 'The Seer'.

Special guests include St. Vincent, Cold Specks, Little Annie and Bill Rieflin.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the first Swans album I have heard - God knows how I managed to miss them so far. I'm going to write a review assuming that like me you don't know their music.

It sounds to me similar to Beak and also has hints of the Doors at time. If pushed further I'd say it is medium paced and strikes a similar melancholy in me to The Cure's 17 Seconds. Also a touch of Can in there. Not saying it is derivative - it has its own sound.

The songs generally have a dirge in the background (single repeated phrase), nice use of alternative percussion (the first track sounds like someone hitting an empty cooking pot), vocals typically hypnotically chanted, with synth sounds on top to add variation and interest.
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Format: Audio CD
I've read enough pre-release/review journalese about Swans and this album (I'll avoid the excessive adjectives and track by track analysis which you can find everywhere else) so was pleased to get my signed copy in the post a couple of days ago to judge for myself. I was ambivalent about the album being much good as I had mixed feelings about the live funding album that preceded it: the tracks were enjoyable but didn't quite seize me. Equally, I had every faith.

Except perhaps for White Light and Love of Life, Swans albums are consistent mainly in their originality and difference from the previous offering. Of course it's unmistakably Swans. No longer a crooner and wailer, Gira belts out vocals and sounds with great confidence and, at the age of 60, seems to have all the time in the world to make music and let the creative force take him wherever it needs to go. At a more tangible level, the album seems to benefit from its Texan recording and the pedalled guitar sounds are fantastic; something of 16 Horsepower in some of them. And, true to Swans form, the album offers subtlety, noise, repetition and new challenges for the listener. The songs are long and the album exceeds 2 hours so we've been there before but the challenges lay in providing funky hooks in places and the addition of unsettling sounds in others: sawing, distressed horses and such!

You'll read things about Gira and god and there's certainly some element of spirituality in his art but whether it's religious or not is a whole other matter. His own description on the Young God website of playing with his band talks about immersion and the sound being bigger than them. It's about being drawn into something that is all-consuming and Gira does it for himself first and invites you to join in if you want. This album will draw you in or throw you out, depending on your artistic preferences.

Strongly recommended for those that crave originality and unusual composition.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On the first listen, some tracks (e.g. 'Bring The Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture' at 34 mins.) might seem like the kind of music crowdfunding might produce with no need for brevity or clarity of ideas, just keep going until the money runs out. That, however, would be wrong wrong wrong. Here is an album made by people whose experience has shown them what it is they want to say and how to say it exactly as they want. No showing off, no bells, no whistles, just raw and magnificent sound, pounding over and over and over (e.g. 'She Loves Us') until resistance is futile. Absolutely outstanding. Really.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my first time with Swans. The critical reception of the album in the media was very positive, and followed two well-received albums from the band since reforming in 2010, but I just didn't get round to them.
It is not quite what I expected, but the heavy repetition becomes trance-like, which enables focus on musical variations, tiny hooks and lyrics - and this proves worthwhile. It is surprisingly varied - the introduction of strings on one track is a shock. The music seems to slow down time - but it's over before you know it. You could spent ages on what other things it sounds like here and there - Little Axe's slow blues, a loping rhythm which invites Tom Waits, repetitive vocal loops like the Legendary Pink Dots, aspects of contemporary classical music, and a slight reminiscence of the music in Twin Peaks which becomes disorienting - but ultimately you are forced to conclude that it sounds like just one thing: Swans.
It gets better with every listen. Quite addictive. After 2 CDs the title track right at the end is almost overwhelmingly powerful and affecting.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Don't think theres an album on earth in recent times that can match this in terms of menacing power and animalistic brutality.
Going into this you would expect Swans to try and recreate the majestic magic that they executed on The Seer album And Whilst To Be Kind isn't as cohesive and obviously coherent as The Seer it definitely surpasses it in terms of musical savagery and just pure jaw dropping fist pumping mind blowing sensations. As is evident on songs like "She Loves Us" with its tremendous opening riff and chant sequence and the repetitive pummelling drumming on "Oxygen" and who can forget the instrumental violence that takes place on "A Little God In My Hands". The 34 minute epic "Bring The Sun/Toussiant La Overture" might not be as immediately satisfying as songs like "The Apostate" when compared by length and instrumental performances but the creation of a living breathing world in this song makes every minute worthwhile. Songs like Screen Shot and Just A Little Boy also deserve acclaim for their unique presentation and lyrical prowess, but to be honest all 10 songs are a pure spectacle.
In Total this album definitely blends together the atmospheric sensations of the current era swans musical approach, the lyrical ingenuity of the 1990's era swans as well as the 1980's era swans violent brutality to delivering walls of sound to our bodies, minds and souls. LONG LIVE SWANS !!!!!!
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