Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More Angels Of Light Pre-Release Press.

A great pre-release Angels of Light We Are Him review posted on Brainwashed.com yesterday.

The Angels of Light, "We Are Him"
Written by Lucas Schleicher
Tuesday, 07 August 2007
Online Review

The sound of a western town at dawn gone mad with isolation, We Are Him is a
document of Gira's manic undulations through blues, country, blackened rock
'n' roll, and primal exorcism. It is a sullen, fallen, redemptive,
contradictory plea to touch the light and joy of God or to know that
suffering is our final and only fate.

The Angels of Light come to this record with all guns blazing: a brief and
dramatic piano run introduces a pulsing, violent, aquatic rhythm scored by
an erupting organ and a near prophetic vocal delivery. It's a stream of
sound that comes complete with undertow, its unrelenting stomp dragging the
music out towards the endless sway of the sea. "Black River Song" begins the
album in medias res, the tumult of what is to come foreshadowed by the
thick-veined madness in Gira's voice and the boiling hysteria in the band's
crashing skulls. The world has either come to an end or it is already
falling apart at the seams with paranoia, sickness, and red, red rivers.
When "Promise of Water" begins all the craze of We Are Him's opening song is
tempered; the gnashing of teeth is here a slow march through the desert with
the light of hope still lifting the world's feet forward. As the music
progresses, Gira and his entire cast of characters slowly transform day into
night and chart a slow decline into bitterness, resentment, and perpetual
doubt. Bit by bit the curtain begins to fall on the stage and then, in a
sudden and unexpected twist, the sun rises, the rain falls, and The Angels
of Light transform perverse chaos into celebration.

"Joseph's Song" turns the band on its head. A Beatle-esque brass section
opens the song up with a kind of brightness I wouldn't expect from anything
Gira touches. The lyrics betray the cheerful arrangement of the song, but
all in all it casts a new light upon the rest of the album, marking the end
of its descent and the beginning of its ascent towards something like
reconciliation. "We Are Him" begins with the celebratory chant, "Let him in
/ Let him in / Let him in" and is propelled by the country twang of a
silver-tongued guitar and a choir's bristling response to Gira's throaty
dirge. It's as though all the darkness of the first five tunes has been
temporarily alleviated, all inward movement directed outwards and upwards
towards the heavens. Even the languishing "Sometimes I Dream I'm Hurting
You" is colored by mention of prayer and love. As it pirouette's into an
organ sparked rock tune, Gira calls out for a flaming sword: if there must
be end, let us all hope we can accept it and slip into the fold of life
without hesitation.

There's little I can say about We Are Him that is negative. Akron/Family's
influence on Gira's music is more evident than ever, but his song-writing
ability is far beyond the band's own and the two talents exist in near total
harmony. Hearing Gira more fully embrace the country and blues roots of his
recent output is welcome and the songs are stronger for it. "The Man We Left
Behind" and "Star Chaser" are in competition with each other for song of the
year and both open their arms to the buzzing tilt of American music. If
there is anything to complain about, it's that some of the aggression on the
record sounds forced, especially in the case of "My Brother's Man." Gira's
lyricism has progressed since his sadistic chants to love and violence with
Swans, but now and again he deems it necessary to fall back on
self-destructing metaphors and unnecessarily crude deliveries. The
performances of many of these songs demonstrate profound intimacy and
delicacy, the nimble cadence of their procession is capable of reaching into
madness and joy more completely than any forced profanity could. Hearing him
deliver "Mary Lou / F-f-f-fuck you" with such a flat tone is disappointing
(almost embarrassing) when positioned next to the more effective subtlety of
"The Visitor."

The Angels of Light have, however, crafted their most perfect and
fully-realized album. Fans of New Mother and other purists might have my
head for such a comment, but after 25 years of near continuous output Gira
sounds most sure of himself on this record. The confidence in the music is
naked, its multi-faceted elements each shining through without hindrance.


Check out Michael Gira's special guest appearance on David Garland's WNYC show Spinning On Air. Michael preforms a number of solo songs (including "Promise of Water") along with being joined by the Akron/Family for a few Angels Of Light numbers and a Dylan cover.
Listen to full show:

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