Yellow Swans – Going Places
These guys are nothing if not consistent. Seriously, it’s like everything they do is gold. And despite breaking up more than two years ago they’re still releasing material. Going Places will apparently be their last release and (no surprise, really) they’re going out in style.
I haven’t written about Yellow Swans before despite them probably being my favourite of the noise/drone genre. Whilst their vibe – melancholic, psychedelic and cinematic – has stayed the same, their sound has evolved greatly over the years. From guitar infused electronic wig outs, through found sounds, into white walls of beat-heavy noise and more recently haunting ambience. Yellow Swans are true explorers.
Going Places continues their recent fascination with swirling drones, distortion and moaning guitar lines. Each of the six tracks slowly emerges from a haze and spins into a kaleidoscope of reverb drenched colours and lights that loop around hypnotically. The pulsing drone of Limited Space rides on a gently beating drum and bell, and Opt In fabricates a sheet of noise that sounds like rain while bubbles rise out of a boiling cauldron. The water references also appear on Foiled where splashing sounds are spliced together in a choppy rhythm. Not knowing what’s sampled or electronic, and what’s being beaten out of an actual instrument is why Yellow Swans sound fresh time and time again.
I’m struggling to come up with comparisons to paint a more vivid picture for this review, but Yellow Swans’ schtick is truly their own. At times they enter territory tread by the likes of Double Leopards but louder, bolder and denser. They also share with KTL an ability to create a significant sense of space, but they’re nowhere near as black. And while riffs are lacking, Yellow Swans create something as thick and heavy as the best of what a band like Earth can achieve. If the love child of any of these bands sounds like your cuppa’ tea than do yourself a favour and hunt down Going Places. Fuck it, get yourself anything by Yellow Swans.