Angels of Light We Are Him

Angels of Light We Are Him
Former Swans front-man Michael Gira may have mellowed with age but his work in his Angles of Light project proves he can be just as unsettling as ever. We Are Him is his latest and it certainly appears to be somewhat more digestible than earlier releases. For this, credit is due to Gira’s supporting cast: Akron/Family, Bill Rieflin (R.E.M., Ministry) and Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), amongst others. They neatly navigate an array of styles, ranging from twang-y folk to baroque pop to caustic blues with discipline and focus. Any initial theories that Gira has become a bit more well adjusted, however, are swiftly debunked on subsequent listens — at 52, he is as scary as ever. "Joseph’s Song” sounds almost cheery, with its bouncy horns, until you realise how its narrative grimly entwines helplessness and possession. It’s a perfect example of just how wonderfully perverse Gira can get, a tuneful composition raped of its innocence by his droning, doom-ridden meditations. On "My Brother’s Man,” toms, bass drums and razor-edged guitars stab unrelentingly and mercilessly for four minutes over Gira’s feral baritone. The thing is, Gira’s always going to alienate some, so curious AOL neophytes should take heed. We Are Him is a fine album and as welcoming a starting point as you’re going to get. (Young God)