August 25, 2012

Song Review: Swans' "Song for a Warrior" (feat. Karen O)

Swans' 12th studio effort is a vast and brilliant culminating success that -- in just a two short hours (*wink*) -- cohesively ties together the challenging aesthetics and avante aspirations of mastermind Michael Gira's 30-year-plus career. Inside the deep well of menacing murmurs, ruptured noise and grinding repetitiveness however sits a polished gem in the album's tail end that easily stands out amid the half-hour long epics and burrowing instrumentals, as the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O joins Swans for a guest spotlight on the track "Song for a Warrior." Enveloped in cozy, country-laced quietness that might actually be The Seer's most startling listen, Karen O's teary coos sink down into the sunset of a simple piano, acoustic and sliding guitar. This isn't the first time we've heard the Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman deconstructed in a bare bones manner, but when Gira exposes Karen O's open-hearted emotions to dazzling orchestrated light and joins her on vocals for the track's closing moments, she and Swans incite a battle cry of rebirth that goes beneath the skin rather than to declare defeat on surface level. Michael Gira has made it known that his vision on the The Seer was to achieve ecstasy, and with Karen O and clashing daylight as his vessels, he and Swans do just that not so much with an uproar, but with a lovely hush.

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