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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The world is still burning, 9 Sep 2007
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
This review is from: We Are Him (Audio CD)
We Are Him is the 5th album by Angels Of Light, Michael Gira's 21st century project after the dissolution of Swans. It opens with the uptempo Black River Song, then follows the heavy slow number Promise Of Water with typical Giraesque apocalyptic lyrics. One of the album's masterpieces is the melodious and flowing The Man We Left Behind, a mournful ballad. Here the band is in top form on a song comparable to the track Angels Of Light on the album New Mother.

Harshness and dissonance rule on My Brother's Man, whilst Not Here/Not Now has a complex arrangement with some atmospheric female vocals. Joseph's song is a mid-tempo track with poetic lyrics and beautiful instrumental flourishes and is followed by the album's other highlight, the title track with its pulsating beat. Sometimes I Dream I'm Hurting You with its spiritual undertone starts out slow and oneiric before the tempo speeds up to a raucous 100kph.

There is an initially interrupted melody line in the short track Sunflower's Here To Stay which also has some great guitar and a bucolic air, like some singalong folky romp done by Fairport Convention. The instrumentation on the ribald Goodbye Mary Lou sounds like bluegrass to me while The Visitor is full of gravitas and the album concludes with Star Chaser, a melancholy observation on lost love. In its most tuneful moments, the music reminds me of the fogotten Swans masterpiece The Burning World.

There are beautiful but disturbing paintings on the front and back cover of the CD holder, by Deryk Thomas of the eerie bunnies fame of Swans albums like White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity and Love Of Life. The fold-out contains two full-color and one black & white painting by Deryk with the lyrics printed on the other side. We Are Him is a great album, not quite as dark as Gira's work with Swans or some of the previous Angels Of Light albums. The overall sound is quite reminiscent of the previous album Sing Other People.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Angels Of Light....... a reviewer confesses, 6 Sep 2007
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
This review is from: We Are Him (Audio CD)
I have a confession . When Michael Gira disbanded the Swans I didn't follow his muse , as any right thinking person would and started listening to his new band Angels Of Light. I forgot all about him , except for the occasional trawl to see if the magnificent "Burning World" had bee re-released on CD yet. An obsession still to bear fruit by the way. Anyway I have remedied this dereliction of duty and sanity by buying The Angels Of Light new album and it's quite magnificent . Now and then there's a fool such as I.
Not that this band are anything like The Swans. In fact unless I'm very much mistaken it seems Michael Gira has cheered up a bit over the intervening years. This album , at least in a musical sense ,feels more playful and mischievous than I anticipated though there undoubtedly elements of his former band in here . The title track has a similar oppressive atmosphere as Swans at their most domineering .
Lyrically though it's the same portentous fare, rippling uneasily with images of violence -"You are suspended in time , hanging naked from a barbed wire fence" and the usual almost biblical similes -"There's steel in the air and there's blood on the wheel's" . We Are Him is also musically diverse alternating between the almost lullaby rhythms of "Promise Of Water", the swampy blues of "Goodbye Mary Lou" , the riff heavy "My Brothers Man" to the tippling lament "Not Here/Not Now" and most audaciously the way "Josephs Song" morphs from a bleak ballad to a swinging pop song. "Sunflowers Here To Stay" remarkably wouldn't sound out of place on Patrick Wolf's album with preening harmonies and vibrant trombone. Final track "Star Chaser" is akin to the sort of skeletal borderline deranged material Nick Cave fermented on "From Her To Eternity". "Sometimes I Dream I'm Hurting You" is a bereft yet laconic epic.
The backing band comprises of Gera's usual backing band The Akron/family along with Bill Rieflin (Ministry & Swans) Julia Kent ( Antony And The Johnsons) and Siobhan Duffy( God Is My Co-Pilot)and the music is rich with texture and layered detail . There are organs , melodica, mandolin, dulcimer, accordion, violin and synthesisers as well as the usual array of guitars, percussion , bass, piano and Adam Sachs with "Heroic kick"?
We Are Him is nothing like I expected except in the sense it's quality from beginning to end. Its a diverse, miscegenation of genres and methods. Gira has even forsaken his signature black , bottomless pit drone for greater range and adaptability . I will seek out their back catalogue forthwith and pray that Michael Gira like he does Mary Lou on "Goodbye Mary Lou" forgives me for not paying attention these past few years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Water, 14 July 2011
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Are Him (Audio CD)
Feels like; a darker version of Loaded the VU forgotten piece of Amerikana. Michael gets all folksy and sinister but also with much lightness cascading into his dark inner vision. The latter stages of 120 Days of Sodom have been cleansed out of the broom cupboard and instead he has injected some humour. This plays along in the background and gently intones its melodies.

At first I was...hesitant; it was Ok, played a few times and consigned to the CD shelf marked under A. Returning back to it, it emerges like a 3D picture- the first time I didn't get it- a few years later I do. Never review anything when it first emerges I presume is the motto and wait for the longevity picture.

Whereas sticking on a Swans album would have my wife and kids begging and pleading for that morbid stuff to be removed this kicks off the in background and gently intones its way into our blackened hearts. The same lyrical obsessions but without the bloodied stump of the head richocheting off the stone wall. This plays along in a more middle tempo "folk amerikana noir"; it's not exactly Bob or anything remotely copying him, thankfully for me at least because I can't stand him. It's too complex to be Johnny Cash but it diverts from the White Mouth of Infinity to become an illustrative example of another flow of human emotions normally filed under sublimation to emerge into view.

The power of the music is in connecting to the emotional streams normally hidden from polite society and allowed to emerge without the thick formica coating of the culture of manners. Michael exposes himself and his obsessions within his music and this is the connection he makes to the listener.

Well worth travelling down his stream but wear a life jacket when he jumps the rapids
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 4 Feb 2008
A. Hinton "Andy" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: We Are Him (Audio CD)
Had never heard of this and guy in shop recommended it to me (being into weird Americana stuff). It's simply stunning...nothing else I can say really.
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We Are Him
We Are Him by Angels Of Light (Audio CD - 2007)
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