The Needle Drop

Swans - "A Little God in My Hands"

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2bMsYb9P-k At long last we have the first single from Swans' upcoming double album To Be Kind! "A Little God in My Hands" is quite the change of pace coming off thoroughly heavy efforts like The Seer and the limited edition live CD Not Here/Not Now (which contains a few early iterations of tracks to land on Kind). The track has that post-industrial strut not unfamiliar to fans of the band - such a beefy, beefy bass line! - but it's strangely funky, even suggesting a bit of a krautrock influence. The uncharacteristically twangy guitar flicks call Neu!'s "Hallogallo" to my mind, and the trudge is also accented by these light synth splutters that are a welcome addition to Swans' ever-growing compositional palette.

The sauntering stomp of the song's verses gives way to eruptions of blaring brass, piercing electronics, and revved guitars - the sort of crushing climaxes you expect from Swans, but the band has done well to keep things fresh.

Frontman Michael Gira has promised that although even longer than The Seer, To Be Kind will be "more vocal-oriented" than its predecessor. Gira opts to wail his lyrics throughout "A Little God in My Hands" in a nasally, although not at all off-putting sort of way. But judging from the Kind songs the band had been developing live on their last tour, there is going to be a great deal of variety across the LP on this front - ranging from soft, weathered crooning (the title track) to throat-searing howling ("She Loves Us!"). Moreover, during the second verse here, we get a vocal cadence from presumably Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and it is absolutely lovely. I am excited to hear where and how else her voice has been utilized over the course of the record. [Sorry, I'm a dingus. All due credit to Jennifer Church, who did the lovely feature here, and who as it happens is Gira's fiance!]

To Be Kind drops via Young God on May 12 (or, a date that's too damn far away)!