Swans
Real Love
[Atavistic]


What's interesting about this CD is that it bears a lot of similarity to "Public Castration Is a Good Idea," which is reviewed by ChorazaiM elsewhere. Actually, it's the other way around since this was released several years prior to "Public Castration...," but the deal is that both of these albums are culled from Swans' performances during their European tour of 1986. Moreover, both releases share the same songs taken from the Greed/Holy Money albums. Out of six songs that make-up this 44-minute disc, five of them ("Coward," " Stupid Child," "Anything For You," "Money Is Flesh," "A Hanging") also appear on "Public Castration..." Unfortunately, I haven't had the privilege of listening to the latter, which means that I can't compare it to "Real Love" in terms of the overall sound. I inquired with ChorazaiM though, who, as it turns out, is familiar with both albums. He suggested that "Public Castration..." has more "bludgeon" to it but still felt that "Real Love" is a very worthy recording.

On my part, I'll say one thing: in their heyday, live Swans were a friggin' scary proposition. And I mean, real life scary. First, there is the music - slowly hurling swarm of claustrophobic abrasiveness punctuated by massive percussion blows (I'll be damned, am I hearing two drummers there?). Then, there is Michael Gira's singing - no screaming, no growling, no snarling, no processed vocals, just the man's voice which is overflowing with such oppressively dark and powerful emotions that it scares the living shit out of you. By the end of the CD you feel completely wrung, completely exhausted. In addition, if you take into account the fact that in a REAL, stripped down life, LOVE is a very scary thing, it all makes perfect sense. In a way, what we witness here is Swans' expression of love. Not how people in general want to perceive it, but how it really is - a predator's love for its prey, the loving agony of a dying man taking his last breath, a man's frantic love for himself with which he sacrifices the others. Real fuckin' love.... Shit, I am depressed. I am gonna tune-in to some easy listening and go gather flowers now.


2000 boris