Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is an advance for Swans, and Gira comes across as less of an eccentric noise-generator, and more of a presence that requires our attention.
  2. Where it leads, and who dares to climb it, is irrelevant; the fact that it so dizzyingly hangs between spirituality and perversion, austerity and decadence, is enough.
  3. Swans' bleakness is beset with great beauty, black wings to another world.
  4. Make no mistake, Gira has his mojo back and Swans are very much alive.
  5. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To the Sky, from the title's evocation of righteous death on down to its suffusion with keening strings and other touches of sonic Americana, is an attempt to come to terms with the dark heart of history, with that ultimate question: if we are born into crime and monstrous darkness, how do we become more than that past?
  6. The most impressive thing about My Father's seething, swaggering intensity is that it keeps it up.
  7. Swans always understood better than most post-punk bands that the crushing, wall-of-sound repetition pioneered by Glenn Branca could be taken to its logical, nihilistic extreme in rock-n-roll.
  8. 80
    Recognizable shapes of jazz and post-rock often accompany Gira's baritone croon, but they're always delivered between passages of fastidiously crafted clamor that's as cauterizing as ever.
  9. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky sounds more like the essence of Michael Gira than the Angels Of Light ever did, and ought to also serve as another broadside to the idea of reformations being inherently grubby and uncreative ventures.
  10. A majestic return and, let us hope, a harbinger of more to come.
  11. 80
    Thirteen years after they retired Swans return with thunderous tour de force. [Oct. 2010, p. 104]
  12. 80
    Dig deeper, though, and what we have here is a record more in line with the excellent, vengeful Americana of frontman Michael Gira's latter-day Angels Of Light fare. [Oct 2010, p.106]
  13. All this serves to underscore that My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is a mercilessly intense and beautiful record that only Swans could pull off, and that no matter who plays in the band, Gira was and is Swans: their sound, their musical and poetic vision, their heartbeat.
  14. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky submits to no such relaxed idleness. It earns the right to avoid the term reunion, picking up right where the band left off.
  15. It's certainly an all-encompassing, monolithic piece of work, an album that'll make a bunch of people suddenly relieved that there's another Swans album, in a we've missed you kind of way.
  16. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky sounds more like the essence of Michael Gira than the Angels Of Light ever did, and ought to also serve as another broadside to the idea of reformations being inherently grubby and uncreative ventures.
  17. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky distills everything Gira has ever done. It's a shockingly dense record, the Gira experience in 45 minutes or less. All killer, no filler, for real.
  18. Swans are alive, utterly. A terrible beauty is reborn. [Sep 2010, p.51]
  19. My Father is less about the Eno-esque sonic tapestries and more about Gira's love for apocalyptic country blues.
  20. It's an album that marries the buzzsaw abrasion of past Swans' albums with the country-cum-death-blues feel of his work with Angels of Light. That's an easy way to explain it, anyway.
  21. Whilst this may be its chief difficulty, and one that will undoubtedly deter and daunt some listeners, it is nevertheless good to have a band and an artist with this darkly poetic a vision back recording and performing once again.
  22. Oct 25, 2010
    60
    It's an album that draws on blues and gospel alongside atmospheric art-rock to end up somewhere intriguing, unnerving and frequently overwhelming. [16 Oct 2010, p.52]
  23. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky isn't all cranium-crushing bleakness, just mostly. [Nov 2010, p.116]
  24. If David Browne's Sonic Youth bio was to be believed, Swans, who emerged from the same noise-filled no wave scene in New York's early 80s as Thurston Moore, had a rotating cast of nasty-tempered psychotic rockers, with multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira at its centre. Listening to Swans' new album, the first in 14 years, you get the sense that some of that malevolence remains.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Oct 4, 2010
    7
    This is the freaking scariest album I have heard since Mars Volta released Deloused in the Comatorium. I don't think these guys get enoughThis is the freaking scariest album I have heard since Mars Volta released Deloused in the Comatorium. I don't think these guys get enough sleep. Unfortunately the composition of the songs is not as good as Deloused. While there does appear to be some excellent production at work, most listeners will be running for the hills (latest Disney artist release) before they hear the true meat of the songs. Irony and pent up anger are a hard subject to base an album on. I suppose if I was stewing on death row I might want this sound for comfort.... Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2010
    10
    Swans are not dead! They are back with an epic and apocalyptic album that goes beyond anything that I've heard this year. The first trackSwans are not dead! They are back with an epic and apocalyptic album that goes beyond anything that I've heard this year. The first track itself tires you out and you just can't expect it to get any better after that first track, but it does. Each song on this album carries on it's own nature to the album. Songs like "Jim" and "Eden Prison" are really addicting and catchy. My love for this album goes beyond anything I could possibly say on this box. It's just that good. Full Review »
  3. Nov 20, 2010
    9
    Mesmerizing, intense, abrasive and deeply beautiful all at the time. You won't listen to any better this year, maybe one of the most importantMesmerizing, intense, abrasive and deeply beautiful all at the time. You won't listen to any better this year, maybe one of the most important records in quite a few years. Full Review »