Swans

Feel Good Now

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At the time, being the first of the many semi-official bootlegs and live releases that Swans put out over the years, Feel documents the 1987 European tour for Children of God, recorded quite well on a professional walkman by the band's sound engineer. The track list exclusively focuses on Children material, so the album has much of the same general variety as its parent release, though all of the edges are a little rougher. "Blood and Honey," for example, maintains the synth-string arrangements from the album as well as Jarboe's low, haunting vocals, but the louder instrumental breaks have a stronger power here. In the meantime, already overpowering songs like "New Mind" and "Beautiful Child" rage all that much harder in a live arena, with Gira holding little back, if at all. At the same time, a tune like "Trust Me" maintains the newer Gira's commanding-yet-controlled croon amidst the more textured, elegant arrangement, though he definitely starts to let himself go more towards the end. Naming every highlight would take nearly forever, but special mention has to be made of "Children of God," featuring a fantastic call-and-response vocal tradeoff between Jarboe and Gira while the band brilliantly backs them up, and versions of "Sex God Sex" and especially "Blind Love," which make the album versions seem like gentle walks in the park by comparison. Another definite bonus on Feel is the demonstration of Swans' hitherto hard-to-find sense of humor: "Willy in Ravensburg" is a recording of a PA tape of Willie Nelson with drunken audience response, while a number of tracks near the end document a variety of performance goofs and improvisations, including some muffled but amusing audience banter at points.

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