Review by Ned Raggett
On their second album for Load, Gabriel Mindel Saloman and Pete Swanson again make a lot of righteously gloomy noise soundscapes for the masses -- they wouldn't have it any other way, of course. With Daniel Voss again providing engineering help while Marcelo Spina oversees production, Yellow Swans begin the album with the title track, a slow swell of a throbbing dark rhythm the bedrock for a series of overlaid drones and feedback wails, Swanson's guitar turning slowly into a triumphant crescendo somewhere between a minimal sitar piece and pure overload. It's perhaps the most straightforwardly rock thing the band's recorded in some time but even then it's not quite normal, and a good thing too. From there much of the album seems to take on a desert theme, at least due to three successive song titles -- "Stretch the Sands," "Our Oases," "Mass Mirage." Alliteration and assonance aside, all three find Swanson fully embraces space-rock dramatics filtered through the vast soundscapes created by the likes of Flying Saucer Attack, sheets of feedback howl and moan turning into something utterly transcendent, with "Our Oases" the most spectacular example even at being the shortest in length. "Endlessly Making an End of Things" concludes the album in a more astrigent fashion initially, though like the opener more and more sound builds on it while mournful wordless vocals snake through the mix in counterpoint as distant siren songs.