Angels Of Light: Everything If Good Here
The slowly picked acoustic guitar and pinpricks of tone that start off the latest album by former Swans mastermind M. Gira’s latest Angels of Light album might lead some into thinking he’s left the overpowering industrial grind of his notorious former outfit behind — and in one sense he has; the music that lurks underneath the oblique poetry of his lyrics is far more organic.
When 'Palisades' blossoms out into the choruses, the music may be as insistent as anything in Gira’s earlier catalogue. It sounds like the product of massed music boxes, not the inside of a car factory working to 2/4 time.
By comparison, 'All Soul’s Rising' has a pummelling martial guitar riff and urgent shouts, train-whistle harmonica and a percussive driving tempo. Lyrically, there’s lost innocence, departed lovers, tyrannical patriarchs, self-devouring families, diabolical medical procedures ('All Souls’ lyrics reference the painful and dangerous pre-antibiotics cure for syphilis) ... one begins to suspect some irony in the album’s title. Michael Gira’s baritone adds its weight, turning the songs into graven injunctions, prophecies of doom and primal laments.
Gira has maintained an extremely high quality level throughout his recording career — '“Everything Is Good' is no exception. It’s both a natural progression on his earlier work and a successful attempt at crafting a more accessible sound.