Published Jun 16, 2016The Glowing Man is the 14th studio album by Michael Gira's Swans, the fourth since they've returned from hiatus and the last, according to Gira, that will feature a formal lineup. From here on out, Swans will include "a revolving cast of collaborators."
That's not the worst thing. Like a nostalgic photograph, the dynamic art-rock here is trademark Gira; it might be a long way from 1983 debut Filth, but the band don't stray too far from post-rock's beaten path here. Produced by Gira, Swans' latest exudes a Pink Floyd-esque atmospheric ambiance. The shortest track, psychedelic folk tune "People Like Us" clocks in at four-and-a-half minutes, while the longest — title-track "The Glowing Man," an epic overture into the heart of what has made the band tick for the last decade — is just shy of 30.
With two other songs that feature their dark, experimental and electronically infused composition (and break the 20-minute mark), The Glowing Man is a meticulous exercise in the band's streamlining their abstract sound, taking what they've done before and playing it under a newer, grander spotlight.
Fans of the band will enjoy the mature and practiced sound of this very good album, but the unconvinced might remain so, as the band don't exactly reinvent the wheel on The Glowing Man. Perhaps that "revolving cast" will bring new, fresh sound to Gira's revered project. (Mute Records / Young God Records)