Swans ‎– Love Of Life

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Although originally released on in several formats and in both the US and UK in the early 1990's, these recordings remained hard to find in their original form for a long time, due to the lack of timely reissues - they appeared only as part of the basis for the Various Failures 1988-1992 compilation at the end of the decade.

The entire album was however re-issued in 2015 both as part of the White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity / Love Of Life compilation and as a stand alone vinyl release.

Both CD and LP copies of the original editions were available in limited edition versions which included a cloth-bound box large enough to hold it and the preceding album, White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity.

The last track on the CD versions, "No Cure For The Lonely," does not appear on the LP pressings.

Narration (uncredited) on "Her" is by 12-year-old Jarboe (source: Michael Gira in interview with Convulsion Magazine, Edinburgh, 1993).

Versions (10)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
YGLP 5, 344.0350.4 Swans Love Of Life(LP, Album) Young God Records, Young God Records YGLP 5, 344.0350.4 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
7-5064-2, YG CD 5, 344.0350.2 41 Swans Love Of Life(CD, Album) Sky Records (7), Young God Records, Sky Records (7) 7-5064-2, YG CD 5, 344.0350.2 41 US 1992 Sell This Version
YG CD 5, YGCD5, 344.0350.2 41 Swans Love Of Life(CD, Album) Young God Records, Young God Records, Young God Records YG CD 5, YGCD5, 344.0350.2 41 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
YGCD 5B, YG CD 5, RTD 344.0350.2.41, 334.0350.2 41 Swans Love Of Life(CD, Album + Box, Ltd) Young God Records, Young God Records, Rough Trade Records GmbH, Rough Trade Records GmbH YGCD 5B, YG CD 5, RTD 344.0350.2.41, 334.0350.2 41 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
7 5064-4 Swans Love Of Life(Cass, Album) Sky Records (7) 7 5064-4 US 1992 Sell This Version
YG MC 5, 344.0350.4 28 Swans Love Of Life(Cass, Album) Young God Records, Young God Records YG MC 5, 344.0350.4 28 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
YGLP 5B, YGLP 5, RTD 344.0350.1.30 Swans Love Of Life(LP, Album + Box, Ltd) Young God Records, Young God Records, Rough Trade YGLP 5B, YGLP 5, RTD 344.0350.1.30 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
YGLP 5 Swans Love Of Life(LP, Album, W/Lbl) Young God Records YGLP 5 UK & Europe 1992 Sell This Version
YG51 Swans Love Of Life(LP, Album, RE) Young God Records YG51 US 2015 Sell This Version
STUMM384 Swans Love Of Life(LP, Album, RE) Mute STUMM384 Europe 2015 Sell This Version

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etid777

etid777

April 4, 2016
referencing Love Of Life, LP, Album, RE, STUMM384

Label should be Young God Records, not "mute". On the side I see the STUMM384 print, but with Young God Records.. Mute seems to be another label
Joburgpete

Joburgpete

December 7, 2009
referencing Love Of Life, LP, Album + Box, Ltd, YGLP 5B, YGLP 5, RTD 344.0350.1.30


This rare box set contains Swans' 1991 & 1991 vinyl albums. The band’s industrial hardcore gave way to a subtle & melodic sound that became more chilling on albums like the brooding Children Of God (1987) and the tuneful Burning World of 1989. Swans would eventually enrich the decade with masterpieces like The Great Annihilator and the droning Soundtracks for the Blind.

White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity is an exploration of anguish and redemption in searing laments of somber beauty. Jarboe's two songs When She Breathes and Song For Dead Time are balanced by Gira's aching drawl on masterpieces like Miracle Of Love and The Most Unfortunate Lie. This majestic orchestral piece of doom-laden remorse with its swirling instrumental textures incorporates children's voices that contrast in an eerie way with Gira's basso profundo. The version on Various Failures is an abbreviated, semi-instrumental mix that is a mere shadow of this one.

Elsewhere, Jarboe's spiritual vocals frame Gira's world-weary croak like the silver lining of a dark, disturbing painting. Perfectly arranged, You Know Nothing is a particularly striking blend of powerful guitar and male vocals transformed by softer segments of Jarboe's dreamy vocals.

Expansive melodies created by swirling keyboards & haunting humming are enlivened by layered guitars and flowing rhythms on the aforementioned and on Will We Survive? These rub shoulders with rougher material like the harrowing Failure with Michael on lead vocal and the torrential guitar attack of Power And Sacrifice.

Love of Life blends power rock with beautiful ballads like The Golden Boy that was Swallowed by the Sea, The Other Side of the World & No Cure for the Lonely and eerie, atmospheric pieces like Her and Identity. The most striking rock songs include the uptempo title track with its propulsive rhythms and The Sound of Freedom which is a most formidable marriage of rock & poetry.

Its soulful lyrics and mesmerizing tune make The Golden Boy That Was Swallowed By The Sea one of their most appealing songs. Track 5 is an instrumental where a sampled male voice talks about hunting deer; it may appear odd in this context but in fact it enhances the mood in some inexplicable way. Next it's Jarboe's turn on a dreamy ballad, The Other Side of the World.

In places the sound recalls The Burning World's eastern influences but amplified hugely with more emphasis on rock guitars & drums. Fascinating snippets of sound and vocal samples, especially on the untitled tracks 1, 4, 5, 9, 12 & 16 add to the mood as do the two outstanding experimental tracks.

Michael's dreamy lullaby-like intro on Her is followed by a harsh rock interlude that suddenly gives way to the voice of a teenage girl talking about summer, her boyfriend, the Atlanta International & Monterrey pop festivals and musicians like Janis Joplin, The Who and The Grateful Dead against a background of radio commercials from the late 1960s. This is not the same version as the one on the live album Omniscience.

The other slice of weirdness is titled Identity. According to the sleeve notes the narrator is Adam Jankowski; he's still a child here, reciting the sublime symbolism & metaphors of this metaphysical poem over a mid-tempo backing track with humming vocals and the occasional tortured word or phrase by a heavily distorted male voice. The eerie tone suggests some sort of attempt to communicate from realms unknown. It calls to mind the uncanny children's voices in The Most Unfortunate Lie.

The second rock masterpiece, The Sound of Freedom, was inexplicably excluded from the Various Failures compilation so this will be its resting place. A mid-tempo number, it has some of the majesty of The Most Unfortunate Lie and some of the urgency of this album's title track, plus a powerful hypnotic momentum & haunting imagery with a spiritual undertone.

Jarboe gently breathes life into She Cries (For Spider), setting in motion a chain of voices on this enchanting rock ballad so exquisitely arranged upon layered, overlapping & multitracked vocals. Then one hears Michael in pensive mood on the introspective God Loves America, after which Jarboe tries with gentle reassurances to soothe some species of animal that makes a range of hair-rising sounds, over an edgy percussive backing.

Michael concludes the album with the melancholy acoustic track No Cure for the Lonely of which the theme encompasses subjects as diverse as romantic love, guilt, relationships and disgust of religious claims of absolute certainty & writings that restrict the mind, the last two being suffocating burdens feeding a disillusionment that drags down those who perceive themselves trapped in cyclical time & repetitive action.

Thus it ends on a melancholy note, unlike Gira's disturbing 1995 solo album with its overt malevolence. I prefer the honest expression of frailty & fragility so the vulnerable Gira on No Cure for the Lonely means more & matters much more than all the Drainlands put together. His post-Swans project Angels of Light pursued a softer sound and is well worth investigating.