Angels Of Light | Everything Is Good Here | Review | Eli

Michael Gira never ceases to astound me

The transition he¹s made throughout his artistic career is quite remarkable. From his beginning in the experimental noise-rock outfit, Swans, to his solo projects, eloquent spoken word efforts and purely instrumental ambience of The Body Lovers, the man has made quite a name for himself. His most recent musical incarnation, The Angels of Light, has mystically unveiled a bizarre and harrowing darkness, aligned with mournful desolation. Although not entirely different from previous works, Michael Gira has indeed broken new ground here. His first two Angels of Light albums, New Mother and How I Loved You, were absolutely fantastic, arguably some of his best and most consistent work to date. Make no mistake about it, Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home continues that tradition.

However, I must advise a bit of caution before purchasing this record. First-time listeners may not be able to appreciate the fact that most musical contributions contained herein have a length that varies from four to nearly seven minutes! At times, certain tracks can be very redundant and grating ("Rose of Los Angeles" is a case in point). Nevertheless, the album still delivers the goods when it comes to powerful audio assaults as well as the more somber, even tender, moments.

Songs such as "Palisades," "Nations," "What Will Come," and "The Family God" have an element of foreboding and eerie desperation. Lyrically, each is sorrowful and pleading, yet strikingly lucid, almost reminiscent of a romantically idealistic, naive and, at times, regretful past. ³She waited here for 25 years/with nothing to win/she wasted her tears/She nailed shut the door/spilled herself on the floor/She waited too long/then she waited some more/The Family God.² It¹s nearly impossible not to connect on some level with something so deeply personal.

One also can¹t help but be mesmerized by Michael Gira¹s somewhat unique vocal style. In an instant, he modifies his voice from a softly inviting pseudo-monotone to an enveloping guttural drone, emanating with stunning impact from the depths of his abdomen. The Angels Of Light effectively use acoustic guitars, mandolins, vibraphones, piano and sporadic drumming to complement their lyricist¹s inflection. My favorite track on the entire record is "All Souls¹ Rising." It just keeps building in intensity, with an unrelentingly frantic rhythm and Gira¹s spasmodic, if not halting, bellows.

Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home is a spectacular achievement for The Angels Of Light. Although it is not as accomplished as their first two albums, it has emerged as one of the better releases this year.