Dec 11, 2006

Beast Moans-Swan Lake

To say i was excited when i first heard of Swan Lake's creation would be a massive understatement. Spencer Krug and Dan Bejar I consider to be two of the unique talents working in the world today. Spencer just floors me with his emotional depth and i could listen to Dan sing the telephone book if he felt like it, throw the in the unique talent of Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) and it's a potential potent mix.

I thought I would be able to find a copy pretty soon upon release, but i've had to wait until now to hear the album in full, if you would indulge me i decided to do a track by track review-

Widow's Walk
A gentle introduction, then Dan comes bursting into song over pulsating guitars, which speed to a flourish at the finish, nice track, but not startling

Nubile Days
Spencer's first song, very upbeat for him, simple, guitar and voice to the forefront, with drums in the background

City Calls
Carey's first song, for those not familiar with Frog Eyes he can difficult, i like this one, nice keyboards, Dan comes in halfway through, so more of a group effect, this one will grow with time

A Venue Called Rubella
Dan sings, but it feels like he is singing a Frog Eyes song, so that is a nice combination, keyboards and drums combine well to give it an eerie feeling

All Fires
Blogged everywhere, this song is as great now as when i first heard it, Spencer's unmistakable voice is just perfect for this exquisite song about love and devotion, full of religious images, it has simple instrumentation but great emotional depth

The Partisan But He's Got to Know (mp3 removed)
Unmistakably Carey, bold, forceful featuring his unique voice, but then at 2.30 it stops and Spencer comes in quietly and the song builds, before Carey rejoins, very haunting song, then an overlap to-

The Freedom
Love this one, Dan's anthem in his unique way, his beautiful guitar, mentions "city of daughters", a previous Destroyer song, deliberate? who knows, if you like Destroyer this one's for you

Petersburg, Liberty Theater, 1914
Again there is no break from the previous, a quiet drumming leads to Dan singing quietly, before Carey joins in, almost psychedelic, the drumming continues throughout, hypnotic, dense and i think one of the three best tracks

The Pollenated Girls
Another Carey song, slow and rhythmical, solid but not spectacular

Crashing drums give way to Spencer singing about bluebirds, as cymbals and guitars duel beneath, a good song for most people but Spencer can do better

Pleasure Vessels
Very dense song with Carey's vocals buried in the background, heavy guitar chord at the forefront, a real grower, better with each listen

Are You Swimming In Her Pools? (mp3 removed)
Be still my beating heart, i think in time this will eclipse All Fires as my favourite, would fit nicely anywhere on Shut Up I Am Dreaming, it demonstrates Spencer's ability to write complex anthems that build and build until they reach an emotional climax. At 3.20 when Spencer almost whispers it really soars, the voice dominates the whole song over a hypnotic guitar line

Shooting Rockets
A mystery this one, sounds like Dan singing a Frog Eyes song, quite harsh in sound, a jumble of voices and sounds, this one could easily have been left out i feel

So there you have it, a complex, dense, stirring record, combining 3 unique voices. Will they do it again, who knows? My breakdown is this, 3 absolute pearls, 5 very good songs, 4 good songs and one that hasn't registered with me yet, which by my count is a success.

Beast Moans- i give it 8/10, one of the ten best records this year, with plenty of room to grow.
This review could undoutedbly be considered biased, because of my affection for the people involved but i am writing this as a fan and i don't mind showing my love.

If you don't like any of these artists involve, i suspect you won't like this at all.
Beast Moans demands a lot of attention and repeated listens to gain full benefit, I'm just glad there are musicians in the world who still dare and don't take the easy route.

Buy from Jagjaguwar or Insound.


  • At December 13, 2006 , Blogger Ian said...

    Cool, you finally got hold of it!
    Great review, got to agree with you on Petersburg, took me a while to get into it, but it definately one of the best tracks.

  • At December 17, 2006 , Blogger The Perm & The Skullet said...

    Huge fan of Swan Lake! As soon as I heard about equal parts Krug, Mercer, and Bejar, I nearly flipped out. Three of my favorite artists joining forces to combat the world. Simply brillant.

    Thanks for the recent comments on the site and congrats on a exciting blog and a daily stop.


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