Angels of Light …Sing Other People

MOJO, NO. 138, MAY 2005 | by Sophie Harris

Gentle folk sounds from one-time Swans man and ear-bully Michael Gira.

There’s long been a mesmeric quality to Gira’s work, where the subtlest sounds interlock to build something hypnotic (and often uncomfortably loud). While that same buzz permeates these latest songs, there’s a new peacefulness that seems to sit and sigh from the bottom of Other People. Gira says it’s largley thanks to his involvement with NYC modern folk troupe Akron/Family, who play as his backing band. Whatever the cause, the result is a collection of brittle, twinkling songs, inspired by ‘other people’. Some are nightmarishly fantastic (the Michael Jackson/Saddam Hussein chimera of Michael’s White Hands), others are simple thank-yous (the Johnny Cash-inspired, arms-open waltz, On The Mountain). On all these fabulous tales, Gira’s voice remains reassuringly salty – and as with the best fairy tales, you can’t quite tell if he’s friend or foe.