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Swans: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

Keeping music evil. Just the way we like it.

Reunions are normally lame exercises in commerce. Swans, though,

Having started as a brutal industrial noise ensemble, they mutated through variants of dark pop music, bleak neo-folk and rabid psychedelic drone rock. They eventually mutated out of existence until frontman and creator Michael Gira unleashed this most demonic of bands once more.

This album stands apart from Gira’s Angels Of Light as well as the final Swans (era one) albums. It’s an occasionally weightless song cycle, that raises you up on the numinous No Words/No Thoughts before dashing you back to the dirt with Satanic hymns like Reeling The Liars In.

The best song is You Fucking People Make Me Sick, featuring associate Devendra Banhart, maintaining Swans’ reputation for sheer abrasiveness. A geography-teacher style mark out of 10 or an Argos catalogue-length assessment are both insufficient to convey the complexity and brooding majesty of this work.

Allan McLachlan spent the late 70s studying politics at Strathclyde University and cut his teeth as a journalist in the west of Scotland on arts and culture magazines. He moved to London in the late 80s and started his life-long love affair with the metropolitan district as Music Editor on City Limits magazine. Following a brief period as News Editor on Sounds, he went freelance and then scored the high-profile gig of News Editor at NME. Quickly making his mark, he adopted the nom de plume Tommy Udo. He moved onto the NME's website, then Xfm online before his eventual longer-term tenure on Metal Hammer and associated magazines. He wrote biographies of Nine Inch Nails and Charles Manson. A devotee of Asian cinema, Tommy was an expert on 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano and co-wrote an English language biography on the Japanese actor and director. He died in 2019.