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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it IS very good
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...
Published 7 months ago by J. Hunter

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To Be Kind
A good record but the tracks are too long. The Swans are going experimental again, they have some impressive moments but I think you end up a little tired by the 2-hour duration. The previous one (The Seer) was better, I still think they are a truly great band with still a lot to offer.
Published 5 months ago by hronis


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it IS very good, 16 May 2014
By 
J. Hunter - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: To Be Kind (Bonus One DVD) (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this, 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind (Bonus One DVD) (Audio CD)
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, hypnotic, haunting, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind (Audio CD)
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... for Earl Sweatshirt and 'Doris' this would be the best album i'd heard in years, 23 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. AJ Harrison "Bundi School" (Middlesbrough, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To Be Kind (Bonus One DVD) (Audio CD)
I would say if it wasn't for Earl Sweatshirt and 'Doris' this would be the best album i'd heard in years. It is certainley the best album of 2014 hands down. They have changed so much as a band since the reforming with 'My Father Guides Me...' it's crazy. They are still Michael Gira but they have this new modern forward thinking almost rock band sound at times now. Check out the guitar riff at the beginning of 'Oxygen' and no offence but you could be listening to Tom Morello out of Rage Against the Machine. Also 'A Little God in My Hands' if i've got the tracks right is like some demented crack house disco. They are certainley branching out but then songs like 'Just A Little Boy' reminds us that we are listening to one of the most innovative but dark sound creators in history.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best of 2014, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind [VINYL] (Vinyl)
One of the most awesome deep intense apocalyptic albums ever created! If you're a fan of GY!BE this should be next to Hallelujah ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Sep 2014
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A. Licusati (italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To Be Kind (Audio CD)
swans = satisfaction guaranteed
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind (Audio CD)
very very good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Excellent sale
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Aug 2014
Mighty good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 July 2014
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This review is from: To Be Kind [VINYL] (Vinyl)
very good
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To Be Kind (Bonus One DVD)
To Be Kind (Bonus One DVD) by Swans (Audio CD - 2014)
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