Angels of Light | How I Loved You | Review
alarmingly tactile with a subdued violence and longing
Michael Gira, founding member of the seminal New York avant-rock band, Swans started the Angels of Light project immediately after terminating Swans. Angels of Light builds off the more acoustic based ideas presented in his former band. 'How I Loved You', AoL's 2nd album, is an eerily beautiful collection of love songs composed with the help of many of Gira's former collaborators. Gira's voice is deep, melancholy, and warm while singing lyrics that seem alarmingly tactile with a subdued violence and longing. These songs at their foundation are somewhere within the realm of folk, country, and rock and they maintain that bare-bones, honest feel in spite of the spectacular, massive sweeps of orchestration (using acoustic, lap steel, and electric guitars, bass, piano, accordion, casio, dulcimer, castanets, drums, glockenspiel, tambourine, tympani, vibraphone, farfisa organ, sleigh bells). 'My True Body' and 'Public Embarrassment Blues' are my favorite tracks. 'My True Body' has a gallop-like pacing with backing vocal shouts that sound like someone driving horses closer and closer through various swells of sound with the constant of trembling guitars. Right before reaching the breaking point there's a pause before the music re-enters with even more immense instrumentation involving (most noticeably) castanets and deep rumbling drums. "Public Embarassment Blues" is a bitter sweet love song that stands out to me with lyrics like... "Bring your voice that cracks and glitters, bring the love i'm pathetic to crave" and "Bring me the tongue that you put in my mouth, and bring me the pain and the junk in my lungs, tell you you love me but not very much". This album has everything going for it and for all its instrumental and emotional excess i can't help but want more.