How do you rate bands, or maybe, how do you determine if you think a band is good or not; is it their longevity or their subjective impact on music or how their music speaks to you on emotional level, or does their live show or how they play live help make your ultimate decision? For my part, these questions or potentially qualifying statements are not always made as there are times that musicians and bands that satisfy one or two that get me completely obsessed with what they do; Swans came at me like a freight train through the studio albums that they left in their monstrous wake (finding the band after their initial breakup was so disappointing), but their live albums never affected me much nor did I seriously search them out to see what kind of beast the band was in the live setting (really, are live albums necessary because for the most part, they are contract fillers that do little to inform a band’s legacy or give any real
indication of what they are like when you get to see them).
This attitude toward the their live documents continued and actually further cemented upon seeing the band live following the release of My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, and at this point I would shake my head in disbelief if people told me that Swans live albums could in anyway portray the band’s awesome power and sheer volume that the band wielded when they played; but following the anecdotal and video evidence of the wild changes that the songs from My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky undertook as the band’s tour went on over the ensuing months, when We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Heads went up for sale my curiosity (and massive obsession with Swans) won out as my hard earned duckets were transferred to Young God records for the special version of the live album.
We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Heads drastically altered my perception of a live album from Swans as the excellent recording quality documented the creative evolution of their studio songs and the springing forth of several new songs showed me proof that such records could be important releases in their own right as this one sheds completely new light on just what the band could do with the songs given enough time to experiment and let them become their own individual monsters to haunt the stage.
What? Don’t believe me?
Listen to the opening of We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Heads for your proof as the droning introduction that sets one hell of an anxious mood before simply exploding into “No Words No Thoughts” (from My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky) like a fourteen year old boy getting down and dirty with a nudie magazine with his parents in the other room because the effect is well executed, the song live has undergone a transformation from an awesome song on the studio LP to an amazing and furious rhythmic ritual that sounds like everyone in the band is trying to get out of their skin by playing their instruments like mad men. If you should still need further evidence of the sheer animalistic power that Swans wields on the record, look to a new song which the band composed while on the tour; “The Apostate” is a nasty piece that mixes swirling guitars and pounding percussion into a strangely throbbing rhythm into what is a well over fifteen minute freakout that just about seals the deal on the idea that Gira can lose his mind on stage as he channels the musical forces and creative energies of his songs.
Imagine two hour marathon sets of such furious merry making and acerbic wit played out in a deluge of sweaty shamanic reverie, and you might have some inkling as to the event that the Swans were making on each tour date that is documented on We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Heads; now after hearing this, I can honestly call this double CD set a piece of vital documentation of the Swans in action as well as proof of just where they can take their music and their music can take them.
8.0 / 10
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Posted July 9, 2012, 10:59 a.m.
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