Published Nov 06, 2019After starting out as rock and punk musicians, Harry Wright and Robin Stewart, aka Giant Swan, have quite easily transitioned into the world of underground electronic club music. Their brutalist, noise-drenched brand of "techno-not-techno" has been openly embraced by a crowd that have warmed up in recent years to the darker sounds of industrial techno, EBM and the more aggressive side of electro. Now that they've conquered the dance floor with their live sets, tackling the album format is the next challenge for the Bristol duo.
Their self-titled LP, kick-starting their new label Keck, doesn't significantly deviate from what we've already heard on their well-received releases for Timedance and Whities. The opening pair of tracks, "55 Year Old Daughter" and "Pandaemonium," lay it down accordingly with pulsating and heady beats crashing against twisted, metallic clatters. Despite the greyscale palette, it's an exhilarating and catchy display of noise-techno cacophony, one that continues on throughout the record with "Pan Head," "Weight of Love" and "YFPHNT."
Devotees of Giant Swan's music know that they're not just about making hard-hitting tracks. "'I' As Proof" is a gorgeous piece of dark ambient, with Stewart's voice being filtered and transformed into a sombre, ghostly weep amidst the haunting and ethereal post-industrial aesthetic. "OPAFS; R" highlights their dubwise production, creating a claustrophobic space being cut through by angular metal screeches; the tension is only just bearable.
As a debut, it's undeniably a solid effort, although one that might be lacking in memorable surprises. It never reaches the highs of their hypnotic sets, but it's certainly a worthwhile listen nonetheless. (Independent)