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Jarboe & Father Murphy | ‘Jarboe & Father Murphy’ EP

Now this 10′ looks interesting.

Sometimes overlooked by recent converts to Swans, Jarboe’s presence in the band saw them not only expand on their brutal, monolithic sound (take her contributions to songs like ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Fool’ as an example) but also helped them to head into new avenues which allowed them to show a more melancholic, melodic and sweeping side to them.

Her vocals were often stereotyped as the feminine counterbalance to Michael Gira’s bulldog masculinity, but that’s far from the truth (anyone who’s heard her version of ‘I Crawled’ will testify to that).

The fact is, she was just as important as Gira in Swans from 1986-1993. There would have been no ‘Children of God’ (still their finest work) without Jarboe’s influence.

So besides helping Swans turn in new directions, she’s also been prolific on the solo front by recording numerous albums, live shows limited to 100 CD-R’s and collaborations with the likes of Neurosis, Justin Broadrick, Atilla Csihar and…erm…Phil Anselmo.

Therefore, it makes sense that she teams up with Father Murphy for this release.

An Italian band who tread a fine line between noise and drone, they’re very much steeped in Catholic guilt and mythology. This makes for an intriguing prospect.

‘The Ferryman’ begins in expected fashion: Jarboe alternates between (almost) spoken word and wordless vocalising, while an acoustic guitar hitting one or two chords and keyboard drone provides the soundtrack.

Jarboe’s puts in a suitably atmospheric performance, but the song feels inconsequential due to the short running time (4:23) and the minimal music which does little to hold the listener’s attention.

‘Truth or Consequences’, however, is a different matter altogether.

Opening with some tribal banging (presumably) of a sheet of metal, we then get a piano and some noise in the foreground before Jarboe’s vocals float above the instruments.

Quite reminiscent of ‘Der Kuss’ by Einsturzende Neubauten and the theme to ‘Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer’, it’s an intense, atmospheric number which should have been stretched to the ten minute mark.

The sort of thing both parties have done before. But no one does it better.

3.5 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 24/10/17

  1. Picked up “Anhedoniac” moons ago off the back of her reputation and to this day remains one of the worst albums I’ve ever bought.

    It just comes across as pretentious twaddle with very little musical merit. Her lyrics sound like the scribblings of a moody teenager.

    And similar to the hoohaw surrounding the Diamanda Galas review, judging by the two tracks posted above I really have to ask why something like this gets a front page review on a heavy metal site.

    Might as well start banging up reviews of Mixhell.

  2. Ducky – Anhedoniac is a bad place to start. Not a great intro at all and incredibly high bar to enjoyment. Why not try again with The Men Album. So much more song based and cohesive.

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