Albums to watch

ADM Chart topper

To Be Kind


To Be Kind

Album number thirteen and third since reforming in 2010 from the post rock New York outfit fronted by Michael Gira

ADM rating[?]


UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   The Arts Desk

    A unique and compelling piece of work that doesn’t resort to clichés of any kind. It could very well be an early contender for the best album of 2014
    Read Review

  2. 10.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    An album that emphasises rather than establishes Swans' reconfirmed position at the top of the experimental rock tree, but that doesn’t make it any less of a thrill
    Read Review

  3. 10.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    To Be Kind sounds alternately like a derailing freight train, a spreading wave of nuclear obliteration, the scream at the end of the world, and the chilling calm afterwards – but for all that, it might be the most accessible Swans album yet
    Read Review

  4. 10.0 |   musicOMH

    Of course it gets full marks – how could it not
    Read Review

  5. 10.0 |   Beardfood

    Swans' newest undefinable album reaches all new heights never understood to be potentially touched in music
    Read Review

  6. 10.0 |

    Close the book on album of the year, it's already before us. To Be Kind is a stunning riposte to those who claim that rock music has lost the capacity to excite and amaze
    Read Review

  7. 9.5 |   Earbuddy

    A two-hour long rock album without filler that remains engaging in spite of its length. I won’t say this will be the best album you’ll hear all year, but this is easily the best I’ve heard so far in 2014
    Read Review

  8. 9.5 |   The Quietus

    Despite clearly being intricately crafted down to the tiniest gestures, To Be Kind's songs feel more fluid and open-ended than before, expressive and rich in possibility
    Read Review

  9. 9.3 |   Paste Magazine

    There is no end to the nuances and subtleties that lay within. Find your starting point and start exploring
    Read Review

  10. 9.2 |   Pitchfork

    As it plays out, To Be Kind starts to resemble a cult procession unto itself, a mesmerizing spectacle of an omnipotent band whose sound continues to expand in scope and ranks swell in size
    Read Review

  11. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    To Be Kind is a loving ode to chaos, full of deranged, mutant energy and even more brilliant for it
    Read Review

  12. 9.1 |   A.V. Club

    Throughout To Be Kind, it seems as if Swans can barely contain Gira’s vision of what his music can surround, conquer, and absorb. Until that glorious apocalypse comes, To Be Kind will serve as another generous exhibition of his cruel mercy
    Read Review

  13. 9.1 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Swans’ music scrapes away to expose the bone, allowing Gira’s seemingly simplistic mantras direct access to the blood stream
    Read Review

  14. 9.0 |   Spin

    Where The Seer's title track ran 32:14, To Be Kind's centerpiece is 34:04, and four more songs crack the 10-minute mark; only one song, in fact, is under seven minutes long. It's that kind of record
    Read Review

  15. 9.0 |   The Music

    To Be Kind is a masterwork of the highest order, one of 2014’s finest releases, and a highlight from a 30-year-plus discography
    Read Review

  16. 9.0 |   NME

    This album still has the ability to shock and scare. It’s an insane and challenging, ambitious and exceptional work of art
    Read Review

  17. 9.0 |   Clash

    Near perfection
    Read Review

  18. 8.0 |   FasterLouder

    After 10 songs, two discs and over two hours of this, you’ll feel like you’ve lost a layer of skin
    Read Review

  19. 8.0 |   Time Out

    It is a literally awesome record, huge, stark songs that explode with tectonic immensity
    Read Review

  20. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Despite the two-hour plus running time, Swans appear to be – gasp! – enjoying themselves
    Read Review

  21. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Swans turn up the intensity a notch or three for the latest magnum opus. Print edition only

  22. 8.0 |   Q

    Putting it on is less like listening to an album and more like scaling a mountain. Print edition only

  23. 8.0 |   Uncut

    Michael Gira is not only moving forward but making some of the best albums of his career
    Read Review

  24. 8.0 |   DIY

    A unique and wonderful achievement from a unique and wonderful band
    Read Review

  25. 8.0 |   All Music

    The world of the Swans is a place where joy doesn't visit very often, but it's not as monochromatic as one might imagine, and the craft and vision behind this music is often stunning
    Read Review

  26. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    The resurgence of Swans has served as a crystallizing instance of something important: People are still willing to give music their time and money. With albums like To Be Kind, it’s easy to see why
    Read Review

  27. 8.0 |   The 405

    Incredibly, they're becoming even less safe, even less predictable, as they near pension age
    Read Review

  28. 8.0 |   Fact

    Though Swans’ records are invariably seedy, To Be Kind is downright sexy, tender like a snake and surprisingly intimate
    Read Review

  29. 8.0 |   No Ripcord

    That this all comes from a 60 year old making music that sounds like none of his other two dozen releases, of whom it was written in the mid 1990s that he may be "running out of ideas" is pretty impressive
    Read Review

  30. 8.0 |   The FT

    The music is tethered to mesmerising grooves and insistent pounding riffs
    Read Review

  31. 7.5 |   Under The Radar

    The nine lengthy works contained in the 2-CD/3-LP To Be Kind require an investment of attention
    Read Review

  32. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Two straight hours of spook-house drones, battering-ram guitar blasts and Michael Gira's howled imperatives about love, sex and death
    Read Review

  33. 6.0 |   The List

    These ten tracks reach deep into the darkest recesses of the blues, toy malevolently with a riff or rhythm long enough to induce hypnosis and then unleash hell
    Read Review

  34. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    To Be Kind is uncompromising to the point of overindulgence
    Read Review

blog comments powered by Disqus

Watch it

Roll over video for more options

Hear it

Preview & download it

Swans: To Be Kind

  • Download full album for just £9.90
  • 1. Screen Shot £0.99
  • 2. Just A Little Boy (For Chester Burnett) £0.99
  • 3. A Little God In My Hands £0.99
  • 4. Bring The Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture £0.99
  • 5. Some Things We Do £0.99
  • 6. She Loves Us £0.99
  • 7. Kirsten Supine £0.99
  • 8. Oxygen £0.99
  • 9. Nathalie Neal £0.99
  • 10. To Be Kind £0.99
  • Service provided by 7Digital

Latest Reviews

More reviews