Music OMH leaving meaning. Review


Swans – Leaving Meaning

(Mute) UK release date: 25 October 2019

Another new chapter in the enduring career of Swans sees Michael Gira enlist the help of a host of collaborators for the latest incarnation of the band. Having cleared the decks by dispatching the line up that delivered the incredible run of albums that began with 2012’s The Seer and ended with 2016’s The Glowing Man, it’s inevitable that the Leaving Meaning would sound somewhat different to what came before.

The result is an album that retains Swans’ expansive and threatening approach, but for the most part sounds much closer to a stripped back M Gira solo project. It doesn’t beat you over the head, or pound you into submission (like Cop, for example), but instead slowly unfurls in a series of hypnotic, almost post-rock inspired, songs that coil themselves around your brain, letting repetition and mood do the work.

For those requiring the old style Swans, there’s a slight nod to the past with The Hanging Man, which finds Gira yelping over a relentless repetitious riff and ominous backdrop. Sunfucker inhabits similar territory, starting off as an almost ritualistic chant to surrender yourself on the alter of the Sunfucker. Once the drums kick in around the midpoint, it’s all too easy to get swept along with its incessant rhythmic groove. If Gira were at the head of a sun-worshipping cult, this would be the track he’d deploy to brainwash new disciples.