Uncut - p.1033 stars out of 5
- "The pace and register of the record seldom alter: the soundscape is always more baked earth than lush foliage."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1064 stars out of 5
- "On all these fabulous tales, Gira's voice remains reassuringly salty - and as with the best fairy tales, you can't quite tell if he's friend or foe."
Angels of Light: Dana Janssen (vocals, electric guitar, saxophone, piano, synthesizer, glockenspiel, bass guitar, drums, percussion); Ryan Vanderhoof, Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton (synthesizer); Michael Gira.
Personnel: Michael Gira (vocals, various instruments, acoustic guitar, harmonica); Ryan Vanderhoof (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar); Seth Olinsky (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, piano, organ); Miles Seaton (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar); Siobhan Duffy (vocals); Paul Cantelon (violin); Julia Kent (cello).
Additional personnel: Siobahn Duffy (vocals); Patrick Fondiller (mandolin); Jerome O'Brien (double bass); Julia Kent, Paul Cantelon.
Audio Mixer: Bryce Goggin.
Recording information: Seizure's Place, Brooklyn, NY.
Singer/composer Michael Gira's 1980s band Swans, with their considerable darkness/bleakness quotient, were perhaps the only outfit that could make Joy Division and Leonard Cohen sound practically jolly. Gira's Angels of Light project, however, is another matter entirely. While the Angels' music is still somewhat grim in lyrical content and vocal timbre, the overwhelmingly intense Swans-like approach has largely given way to a bittersweet melodic presentation. The autumnal, reflective tone is enhanced by Gira's neo-folk proteges Akron/Family, who serve as the backing band.
The title THE ANGELS OF LIGHT SING "OTHER PEOPLE" refers not to other songwriters, but rather songs about particular people who've inspired/affected Gira in one way or another. He must know some fascinating characters: "Michael's White Hands" is a tapestry of buzzing, jangling string instruments conveying a chant/rant about a disorienting parallel world, the likes of which the Doors' Jim Morrison used to visit. "To Live Through Someone" has a catchy lilt that recalls British Isles' folk music, and the sweetly sung background vocals provide a welcome contrast to Gira's chilly, yet strangely compassionate, old-hermit-of-the-forest delivery. For those feeling haunted the memory of someone (or some particular time), SING "OTHER PEOPLE" may be an ideal form of musical catharsis.