Spin - p.1223.5 stars out of 5
-- "[T]he singer/songwriter focuses on whiplash juxtapositions of sound and style..."
Uncut - p.814 stars out of 5
-- "'My Brother Man' in particular, with its pendulous, punishing riffery, reminds you of the Gira of old."
Magnet - p.90
"On 'Sunflower's Here To Stay,' Gira and the Angels produce a pop song with piano and trombone, complete with positively joyful, wordless backing vocals."
The Wire - p.46
"Nothing feels superfluous; the instrumentation, though compellingly mercurial, is never intrusive or overwrought, allowing Gira's songwriting to command centre stage."
Kerrang (Magazine) - p.47
"Lying somewhere between the dark croon of Nick Cave and the spaced, arty drone of The Velvet Underground..."
Angels of Light: Siobhan Duffy Gira (vocals); Christoph Hahn (electric guitar); Patrick Fondiller (mandolin); Birgit Cassis Staudt (accordion); Bill Rieflin, Miles Seaton (bass guitar); Adam Sachs (unknown instrument); Steve Moses , David Garland, Eszter Balint, Julia Kent, Philip Puleo, Paul Cantelon, Ryan Vanderhoof, Seth Olinsky, Dana Janssen, Larkin Grimm.
Personnel: Seth Olinsky (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano); Bill Rieflin (vocals, electric guitar, piano, organ, synthesizer, drums, percussion); Miles Seaton (vocals, electric guitar, piano); Eszter Balint (vocals, violin); David Garland (vocals, flute); Dana Janssen (vocals, drums, percussion); Ryan Vanderhoof, Larkin Grimm (vocals); Christopher Hahn (electric guitar); Philip Puleo (hammer dulcimer); Paul Cantelon (violin); Julia Kent (cello); Steve Moses (trombone).
Audio Mixer: Bryce Goggin.
Author: Jonathan Meiburg.
Michael Gira continued to atone for years of fronting the loudest band ever, the Swans, with both his second band, Angels of Light, and his label, Young God Records, which gave the world the likes of Devendra Barnhart and Akron/Family. Both of these endeavors bolstered his belief that music need not split ears to be adventurous, challenging, and beautiful.
WE ARE HIM, the fifth long-player from Angels of Light, is wholly uncategorizable, and features Gira chasing far-flung muses from Beefheart stomps ("My Brother's Man") to dirgy semi-ragas ("Promise of Water"), to almost traditional pop ("Good Bye Mary Lou.") The constants throughout are delicate arrangements, odd structures, and Gira's mesmerizingly laconic baritone. There are familiar touchstones here--synth-era Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave's solo work to name two--but Gira is an original and WE ARE HIM is weird American noir that sounds like nothing else on earth.