Friday, November 13, 2009

Swan Lake - Beast Moans

Swan Lake – Beast Moans
Jagjaguar, 2006
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Price: $8

Dan Bejar + Carey Mercer + Spencer Krug = Swan Lake. Equals one of the most ingenious collaborations of our time, three of Canada's best bringing their own distinctive styles to the table and making a beautiful mess of things. I'm noticing new things this time around. There's something hypnotic about Bejar repeating “a venue called Rubella” over and over at the end of the song of the same name. Krug's “All Fires” is one of my favorite songs he's ever written, perhaps coming in second to “The Mending of the Gown.” It's one of the most straightforward songs on the record, and it really showcases Krug's gift as a lyricist, yet the influence of the other guys is palpable. They add harmonies and that bass line just KILLS. The song becomes more and more crowded as it builds and feels like a pot of water coming to a boil. Krug's “Are You Swimming in Their Pools” is also straightforward, and also succeeds at being one of the most memorable songs on the record. The record occasionally gets bogged down, however, by the overall weirdness of the songwriters. Mercer's songs tend to test my limits a little, but often they're just as good as the latest Frog Eyes stuff which has pushed towards accessibility (See: Tears of the Valedictorian). “The Partisan He's Got to Know,” for example, harnesses this weirdness via bombast, as does “City Calls,” though I always feel weird when he gets to the “Fuck the police” part and I don't know why. Bejar's opener “Widow's Walk” is full of trademark la-di-das, while “The Freedom” is more like a Destroyer b-side and a poor man's “All Fires.” The epic, massive “Shooting Rockets” tends to be a slog. It's no wonder he reworked it (with great success) on Trouble in Dreams. Here, “Shooting Rockets” is a cacophonous mess of wailing, guitars, and what have you. Mostly it just sounds like they've thrown everything on this album into an echo chamber and THEN thrown that echo chamber into one of those huge blenders used to make dough for bread. And then they baked it...or they got baked, I'm not sure. Ultimately this is an incredibly interesting document with about three absolutely jawdropping songs, yet all of them are pretty much worth listening to.

For fun, consider my favorite song effectively ruined (not really, but this is real bad!)

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