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Sunday, October 17, 2021

CD Review: Swan Lake

Rating: 4

There’s a weighty back-story behind Swan Lake. Put simply, the band is a supergroup made up of three Canadian indie rock lead-singersCarey Mercer of Frog Eyes, Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, and Dan Bejar of Destroyer. If you haven’t heard their original bands, then you should put down this review and listen. You’re missing out on some of today’s most creative songwriting.

The first Swan Lake album, Beast Moans, combined four songs written by each of the singers into an entire LP. The resulting album suffered from inconsistency: Krug wrote a few masterpieces for the album, while Bejar and Mercer seemed to have brought only mediocre works unfit for their full-time projects. With the new album, all that has changed.

Enemy Mine‘s songs link together with an intricate cohesioneach of the three singersdistinctive voices are used to their full potential. The album opener,Spanish Gold, 2044is a brooding, climatic piece, all pounding drums, deep synthesizers and Mercer’s distinctive wail and literary lyrics. The track’s last two minutes sound like the world ripping itself apart: The song speeds up and Krug, Bejar and Mercer howl together above a swirling distorted guitar riff and deep piano.

The second track,Paper Lace,is something different altogether from the album opener. Where Mercer snarls and wails like a man about to lose his grip, Krug’sPaper Laceis a lover’s lullaby with a distinctive little guitar riff.

Bejar’s contributions are easily recognizable if you’re familiar with Destroyerhis characteristic sparkling piano and strange song arrangements are all present on Enemy Mine. Bejar’s ability to sing with the emotion of a brilliant storyteller will endear him to all but the most callous listener.

After opening with the apocalypticSpanish Gold, 2044,Enemy Mine ends with Mercer once again sulking and pounding, this time throughWarlock Psychologist,a song as ambitious, strange and fantastic as its title. Enemy Mine is much the samecaptivating, uncanny and deeply listenable.

Zack Frederick

 

Sounds like: Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Destroyer

Give these tracks a listen:Spanish Gold, 2044,” “Paper Lace

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