Opening with Swans leader Michael Gira reciting an insomniac mantra (“No dream, no sleep, no suffering”) over a foreboding psychedelic drone, To Be Kind finds the doomy US experimental rock outfit in an expansive yet focused mood.

The album sprawls over two hours, with one track lasting an immense 35 minutes, but the music is tethered to mesmerising grooves and insistent pounding riffs, over which Gira, a veteran of New York 1980s no-wave scene, recites his verses as though from deep within a monk’s cowl: the element of melodrama alleviates the musical claustrophobia.


To Be Kind


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