Swans "A Little God in My Hands" - Pitchfork Best New Track
Swans "A Little God in My Hands"
Young God / Mute
By Nick Neyland
Best New Track
Swans didn’t need to gain any more swagger in their step following the supremely confident 2012 album The Seer, but "A Little God In My Hands" indicates there are no limits to where Michael Gira could take this project. His firm hand steers the band through a surprising dip into funk as the song begins—but a version of funk that’s just as sickly and disease-addled as Swans are when they’re closer to the rock firmament. Gira’s vocal sounds like it’s being delivered with a noose slowly tightening around his neck, suggesting all the vital components that run throughout Swans’ music in its many guises: pain, suffering, a wringing of hands to the sky.
As the first track to be previewed from the forthcoming To Be Kind, this works as an exit door from The Seer, a way for Gira to demonstrate how his new record won’t simply trail in the wake of that creation, instead taking him and his band into a whole other sphere of hurt. Like the best Swans work, it can be gentle, with subtle builds gradually coiling in the tension until bursts of discordant horn bring the ceiling crashing down in the most beautiful and violent way imaginable. It’s in those moments that Gira sounds unstoppable, and he is, with no sign of weakness in his battle-scarred troops, nor any indication that Swans are anything other than a prodigious force of nature, hurtling through time with a barely contained momentum.