Swans – Leaving Meaning (2019)

How can Swans follow up on “the trilogy”? The increasingly transcendent musical journeys that the full band put out before folding in 2017 are on that pedestal for me, up on high with the musical greats of all time. It is perhaps a bit easy then, to be underwhelmed with Leaving Meaning on first impressions. The lush, dense soundscape formula is very similar, although the tracks here are much less demanding, sonically at least (is that a word?). The tracks are notably much shorter, although the album itself still clocks in around the 90 minute mark.

There are some beautiful ideas here (“I have a beautiful idea!!!!” – Gira, sometime in 1987). The lyrics and vocals are much more back in the centre stage, which is a welcome return. In the Swans body of work, Leaving Meaning is still an incredibly solid effort, I just feel that I really have little to say in comparison to the mind-bending greats that came before it. I’ve listened to this countless times since it dropped, but maybe I just need more time to process it all.