Swans – The River That Runs With Love Won’t Run Dry
“I awoke this morning in the blackest night”
I said that in 1989 I was moving away from goth. Well, yes, kind of. With my temperament, it’s probably not a style of music I am ever going to be able to completely leave behind. I could pretend that Swans’ album The Burning World was an exercise in intense acoustic psychedelia, and there might be something in that.
However, one listen to Michael Gira’s morose bass monotone on this and other songs, and you’d be hard pressed to squeeze a licorice Rizla paper between Swans and the Sisters. A leopard never changes his spots.
Whatever. I already had the previous album, Children of God, which was not quite as gentle as this one, and when I read the reviews of this one felt I had reached the sweet spot between goth and acoustic folk. While it sounds gentle on record, once in the live setting, the songs really come alive and take on a spirit of their own. Another great gig in Portsmouth, the band played soft but loud and with such strummed intensity that it was a complete bouncy castle wall of sound that enveloped, cushioned and absorbed the audience with a power that didn’t let go for the whole night. It really felt like being possessed and I completely loved it.
I couldn’t hear a thing for a night after that, but it was worth it. Sometimes the sheer repetition of mundane words and phrases can take on charismatic and talismanic qualities ans such was the case that night.