Monday, July 30, 2012

The Black Swans

Another band that I've been writing about for a long time...The Black Swans' fifth album, Occasion for Song is the strongest since they lost Noel Sayre in 2008.

I personally like Who Will Walk in the Darkness with Me? the best. I did a piece about it and the band for Neumu a long time ago when it first came out.

Anyway, here's my review of their new album, which came out a week or so ago on Misra Records.

The Black Swans
Occasion for Song

There’s a swimming pool on the cover of Occasion for Song, an image that, for most bands, might convey lighthearted summer themes. For The Black Swans, however, it’s a reminder that, in 2008, violinist Noel Sayre drowned in that same pool. Sayre’s playing was an integral part of The Black Swans’ early sound. Classically trained and constitutionally incapable of cliché, he played beautiful, chilling, sustained notes that bent The Black Swans from quiet country blues into something otherworldly.

Since Sayre’s death, the band’s other founder, Jerry DeSicca, has struggled personally and musically to move past the tragedy. Words Are Stupid, in 2010, incorporated Sayre’s violin playing posthumously into the mix and included an oddball “Black Swan Tango” song that Sayre wrote and sang before he died. Don’t Blame the Stars, last year, dipped into reminiscence through a series of excruciating spoken word intervals, but avoided the subject of Sayre’s death.

Occasion for Song is The Black Swans’ best post-Sayre album, at least partly because it addresses Sayre’s death head on.


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