White Swan Black Swan: White Swan Black Swan (Arch Hill)

 |   |  1 min read

White Swan Black Swan: Castle of Useless Junk
White Swan Black Swan: White Swan Black Swan (Arch Hill)

An excellent earlier EP by this Auckland duo and friends made repeat appearances at Elsewhere previously -- and this follow-up is their "double mini album".
W/B Swan are Sonya Waters and Ben Howe who have long and illustrious careers (in bands such as the Instigators, ICU in London, Orange, Superette) and they were together in the acclaimed Fang. Bassist Ben Furniss and drummer Rick McShane complete the line-up and here guests are Sam Prebble (violin) and Brig Wood (drums on one track).
For W/B Swan however the rock backgrounds are pushed away and the moods are more ethereal, melancholy, sonically spacious and gloriously melodic as they stalk territory between alt.country (with twanged Texas guitars), indie.rock and in places a European art music languor that is very appealing indeed.
With White Swan (Waters) and Black Swan (Howe) taking a disc apiece it is tempting to see a musical schism, but it is less two separate CDs than subtle changes of musical emphasis which might have worked just as well on a single re-ordered disc.
So not solo projects, but different sides of the same piece of Swan glass.
There is a cool, emotional distance sometimes on the White Swan disc which is entrancing; and the Black Swan disc errs more towards alt.country with wry lyrics.
At heart however are utterly appealing songs which are deftly realised, beautifully understated and which sit neatly across a wide emotional and stylistic spectrum, but always sound like W/B Swan music.
A lot of repeat-play listening.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

Although he came to attention as a (very) soft-rocker with his partner Stevie Nicks in the days before they joined Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham was the one in the group whose music was the most... > Read more

Elton John: The Diving Board (Universal)

Elton John: The Diving Board (Universal)

The resurrection of Elton John continues as he approves of younger talent (recently praising Lorde) and gets remade/remixed by Pnau, yet also hooked up with seventysomething Leon Russell for The... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Buzzcocks; Original Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Buzzcocks; Original Album Series

Although the Buzzcocks came through when punk kicked the doors down in the late Seventies, they were -- despite singer/writer Pete Shelley being inspired by seeing the Sex Pistols -- less of a punk... > Read more

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Bibb is one of that new generation of bluesmen who sounds utterly authentic: this despite Bibb growing up in New York, having John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet as an uncle, and studying... > Read more