Sunday, January 13, 2013

Swans - "Feel Good Now" CD

As a document of the band's scathing and nuanced 1987 "Children Of God" tour, this "official bootleg" was originally released in a small edition on double-vinyl and CD. This resequenced reissue omits "Trust Me", but is still quite worthy for devotees of Swans' transcendent sound and vision.

Opening with the gutteral "Intro", the band launches into "Blind Love", which  pummels mantra-like for over 20 minutes. "Like A Drug" is a bowel-churning attack, while "Beautiful Child" is a churning assault with murderous intent. There's no weak spot here, and though some may feel the 75 minutes here are far too much to endure, I  feel to the contrary, especially as the softer moments (highlighted by Jarboe's foreboding "Blood And Honey") serve to pace the otherwise bludgeoning assault of sound.

Make no mistake, "Feel Good Now" is a raw, bootleg-quality recording. It was, after all, recorded on a Sony Professional Walkman by the band's sound engineer. However, as an album and experience, it's still quite worthy for serious fans, as it showcases a particularly volatile and inspiring period for the band, right between their powerful (even threatening) early work and their more melodic middle period. The intensity is not lost on the relatively low fidelity here. 

Visceral and unembellished, "Feel Good Now" is a cathartic experience with few parallels. It's best to close your eyes and absorb. Magnificent! 

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