Swans – Swans Are Dead (1998)

January 14, 2013

This marks the first time in fuuuuuuck knows how long I’ve actually paid full retail price for a CD (by that I mean £9 or higher) but it is just impossible to get the career-end late 90s Swans stuff anywhere any cheaper (in Britain, at least). Swans Are Dead is a retrospective live album, released not that long after their original demise, and features two discs of live performances. 1995-1997 was an interesting time for Swans, having gone full circle through the spectrum of non-threatening genres, the band were on the verge of returning to their downright weird and extremely experimental ways when they abruptly ended. The mega-oversized Soundtracks of the Blind amply documents this, and Swans Are Dead is the live album for that era that accompanies it.

There are two discs, one is a show from ’95 and the other from ’97, and despite this they flow pretty well and I originally thought when I downloaded it that it was the same show spread on both discs. It’s even a different line up and I didn’t realise – perhaps I’m losing my touch? Or would that be my hearing? Anyway, Swans Are Dead showcases the band’s very experimental final tour and is a slice of a place in time that was once very sad and nostalgic. Now that Swans have reformed however, the Are Dead set hasn’t lost any meaning; the Swans here is unlike any other period in the band’s lucid history so it still stands up with the rest of the catalog, even today. Out on Young God Records.

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