Angels of Light | Everything is Good Here

CMJ New Music Monthly | Phillip Sherburne

Gira has achieved his widest emotional range yet

The title of the third album from M. Gira's Angels Of Light rings with uncharacteristic optimism, even wrapped, as it is, within a shell of desperation. Who would have expected Gira, who fronted the notoriously gloomy Swans throughout the 1980s and '90s to express something as upbeat as "Everything is good here"? After two previous Angels Of Light records full of surging despair, Gira has achieved his widest emotional range yet, from worshipful bliss to seething rage to caved-in submission. Thanks to his arrangements of organs, acoustic guitars rippling percussion, sourceless drones and of course his own weatherbeaten growl, it's also one of his most brutally, apocalyptically beautiful albums ever. Listening to Everything is a bit like trying to stare down the sun, and the colors that explode in the blindness are more vivid than anything seen by the naked eye. A consummate storyteller, Gira weaves a tale with every song, and no matter how well worn the themes - love, power, abandonment - he brings each one to life anew with hidden signs that burron into your mind and wait to release their secret. Musically, Gira's roamed more widely than ever someday, he'll be recognized as the saint of American folk that he is. For now, believers and novitiates alike can marvel at his latest and perhaps greatest miracle. /