Friday, 2 November 2007

Swans "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Product Inc Records, 1988)

Posted by Picasa

Well, I'm sure I don't have to fill you in on Swans. Of all of the early no-wave/industrial bands coming out of New York's burgeoning Art-Rock scene, they were the loudest and the nastiest, for a while. The early albums are just these huge slabs of churning noise, topped off with Michael Gira's distinctive howling vocals.

So it was something of a surprise when they released this cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in 1988. It's a magisterial slice of doomy pop, which always sounded to me like it should have been a HUGE hit. Oh well, what would I know? It came in a multitude of editions, and in two distinct versions: the "Red" one features Michael Gira on vocals, the "Black" one has his collaborator Jarboe turning in a slightly more mournful, slower vocal. Apparently, Gira was unhappy with his vocal performance (I can't quite see why) and though Jarboe's version has been reissued, I believe this version is still unavailable. That's a great shame; I've heard plenty of Joy Division covers, and without exception, they all seem to be dreadful. This song has a gravitas and tension that pays homage to the original whilst taking it into a new direction (it's a nice touch to have simplified the main riff by a couple of notes, letting the song breathe)

As a further delight, the "Red" version of the single came on lush Red Vinyl (natch). That's it above- it's better to look at than the sleeve, which is Red type on a Red background.

Swans "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (mp3)


Anonymous said...

thank you for this. have you heard the susanna version of love will tear us apart? i think that its beautiful.

Mick said...

I haven't heard the Jarboe version but this sounds fine. Nicely crooned I would say.

A friend of mine swears a girl he used to work with thought JD had covered a Paul Young song :o

Iain Baker said...

Oh God, I'd forgotten about the Paul Young cover :(((((

Ed said...

Hi, in a weird way, had just posted the Jarboe version this morning and asked if anyone had the Gira version to get in touch!

Very cool, thanks for posting this. Ed, 17 Seconds

Iain Baker said...

Hey Ed, it's odd we posted both versions a day apart isn't it? Great minds, and all that:)
Nice blog, BTW, it's been linked on Downwithtractors for a while,

Ed said...

Hi Iain, glad you like 17 seconds, and you are right about the great minds!! You are also linked on my blog. Finally, fifteen months in I think people are reading it... : ))

So It Goes said...

Cor, Paul Young singing this??? next thing you know, we'll get Dido or David Gray doing it.....;-)
It's beautiful. What more can I say?

dsl said...

Hello Iain
if this is still live, please send me the Mp3 of the Gira/red Love will tear us apart. Clicking on it only takes me to fileden front page with no obvious way of finding the file (if that's where it is)