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Yellow Swans - Deterioration

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Artist: Yellow Swans

Album: Deterioration

Label: Modern Radio

Review date: Jun. 16, 2008


Yellow Swans - "Burnt Dub" (Deterioration)


So after six years and an estimated 50-70 releases, Yellow Swans are calling it a quits this month. The only upside to this news is that no one will have to try to get his or her paws on the million-unit discography the band was on pace to churn out. As this is a reissue of a small and out-of-print release, it’s not the band’s closing statement (a final studio album is due in 2009). And while it’s not their magnum opus (I’ll take At All Ends), it still has everything awesome about Yellow Swans.

Not insignificantly, the Yellow Swans’ creative peak has occurred during a period in which nearly every barometer of cultural sanity is tanking. The sound is almost always thick enough to get lost in, but there is never any question that the noise reflects an abrasion external to the music itself. Escapism is always defined as the shadow of that from which it escapes. This is one light by which to read the whole bunch of hyper-prolific DIY noise-spindlers––a group that has never seemed so robust as it is now. They're bands whose output seems an urgent reaction to a musical culture increasingly constituted of flaccid scale-models of pre-existing forms. And while Yellow Swans rarely turned down an opportunity to release something, their music makes an even deeper impression than their admirable operational spirit.

The 60 minutes of Deterioration are vintage, latter period Yellow Swans––a radiant melodic glow contending with grainy squall. Here the band is compositionally loose, but not without dexterity and an innate, fine-tuned communication between its two members––traits found in more modest doses among their peers.

It’s now an issue of contention whether or not it even makes sense to talk about a contemporary avant garde, but if energy is any proving ground, Yellow Swans ought be remembered in the most favorable of lights.



By Brandon Kreitler

Other Reviews of Yellow Swans

Bring the Neon War Home

Against Sleep and Nightmare

Psychic Secession

At All Ends / Decension Yellow Swans

Going Places

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View all articles by Brandon Kreitler

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