Swan Lake

Friday, 08 December 2006

Swan Lake are a supergroup of sorts, albeit a modestly super one. We’ve got Dan Bejar (Destroyer), Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade), and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) making the noise behind this. Although I can honestly say that I did not know one lick of Wolf Parade's music before this, I am in trusted, committed relationships to the music of both Destroyer and Frog Eyes and was willing to judge a man by the company that he keeps rather than the blogs his band’s music manages to saturate. Which is a good move on my part (self-congratulatory aside), because this record is probably what people think will happen when they meld musical minds. It also helps that the people in question are fairly abstract in their pop pursuits. So, in a record filled with tumbling sounds, far away vocals, scattered drums, delay, echo and a general thick haze of guitar-addled confusion surrounding you, you can safely let go of the reins a bit.

What's even better is that Beast Moans works in a way that you can rarely say things like this work. It's actually a cohesive jumble of influences and approaches to songwriting. It really does sound like three bands all in one, but not with all the confusion that might imply. Bejar's literary absurdities and purple turns of phrase are pitted against the dense echo and fuzz of Mercer's guitar. And this boy Krug belts out strangulated tones that are pained and ecstatic. It's not always to easy to see where one man's line ends and another begins (as you can whenever Bejar's songs pop up on a New Pornographers record), but this is a wandering (not meandering), frothy mix of the new kings of pop psych sludge, let us hope and pray that it's not a one-off project.

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