Raised by Swans - No Ghostless Place
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: January 11, 2010
Raised by Swans is an indie rock quartet from London, Ontario, Canada. After nearly a five-year absence since the release of their 2005 debut Codes and Secret Longing, they return with their sophomore effort.
How Is It?
I checked out Codes and Secret Longing to gain some perspective on the band, but had I been aware of it sooner, I would have been anticipating its follow-up highly. On that debut's best tracks ("Violet Light" and "Sandcastles", which I strongly recommend checking out), Raised by Swans have a darkly beautiful sound while maintaining a certain intangible heft. And had I been anxiously awaiting the release of No Ghostless Place, I would probably qualify it as a disappointment of sorts.
Singer Eric Howden's croon is still smooth, frequently venturing into a wispy falsetto, and Alex Wright's mood-setting guitar is still spacy and drenched in reverb, but the songs occasionally seem to get caught up in their own prettiness. There are definitely moments throughout the album that display the spectrum of the band's strengths, though. "Hail of Arrows" blends Raised by Swans' dreamy pop with a sense of post-punk urgency, and it's a bit reminiscent of Final Straw-era Snow Patrol. "Secret Garden / S.C." shows off their skill at creating a hushed, stargazing ambience. On "Longer Shadows, Shorter Days", Andy Magoffin delivers a welcome driving bass-line, something that's frequently missing amid the album's prevailing shimmer.
Unfortunately, much of No Ghostless Place is uniformly airy, causing it to run together in the middle and drift away under its own weightlessness. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and could be said to contribute to the album's cohesiveness, but the complaint is simply this: great dream-pop should float off into the ether, and though it undoubtedly has some breathtaking moments, No Ghostless Place doesn't always take you with it when it goes.
Had to comment simply to say that this album grows on you, slowly but ever-so-surely. And that for me personally, it never leaves me behind. Not even for one second.
Agreed that Codes and Secret Longing is a very good album, but this one has some extra magic. From what I've gathered, these guys worked on this for years for a reason, and it certainly wasn't to make the songs blend into one big blur of airiness. They care a lot, and you can feel it in every note. Just give it some time, I think you'll find that it will pay off.
But yes, check out Codes and Secret Longing too! :)
dont see what the point of listening to these guys is if mew exists
the vocal melodies and instrumentation definitely try to copy the frengers sound.
I'm a big Mew fan, but they don't have a monopoly on high, melodic vocals. Thank God. That's like the old 'Interpol sounds like Joy Division' thing- there are definitely elements of Mew in Raised By Swans, but it's reckless to call them a copy. This band has its own sound. Still, people seem to need a point of reference. Me included. :)
As for the instrumentation, guitars, bass, keyboards and drums are an instrumentation that thousands of bands share.