Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The White Swan > Touch Taste Destroy > Reviews
The White Swan - Touch Taste Destroy

Fuzz Box Love - 75%

Cat III, October 20th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent

Touch Taste Destroy was produced by Reg Harkema and Lex Shuper. Like The White Swan's other releases, it was engineered by Alastair Sims, who I was disappointed to find out was not the plural form of the actor best remembered for playing Ebeneezer Scrooge in the 1951 A Christmas Carol, though it's probably for the better considering that guy has been dead for forty-two years. Joking aside, I bring up these people, because the production is one thing The White Swan get consistently right. Think of it like the audio equivalent to horror vacui. Fuzz covers everything, with feedback seeping into every nook and crevice. Mercedes Lander's vocals are doused in reverb, giving it a dreamy quality. I wouldn't call the atmosphere oppressive, but it is cramped and uncomfortable—something that must have been deliberate.

This is the band's third EP in as many years. They may have pegged the sound since day one, but this marks the first time they nailed the music. Usually they're described as doom or sludge metal which is true enough, though rather than Candlemass or Eyehategod, their sound is closer to Boris and the band from which Boris got their name, the Melvins. Those two bands have dabbled in so many styles that it's impossible to label them in a way that is accurate and comprehensive, so let me elaborate. Boris' Pink, specifically the slow songs, is probably the best reference point. The White Swan play at a pace that's deliberate, not glacial. Still, there's something of a similar vibe to the Japanese band's droning tracks, albeit in a more compact form. They don't have any punk-rock length songs like on the first Melvins' LPs, but they do share a songwriting modus operandi of not belaboring any musical idea. Vocally they standout from either. Lander has a pleasant voice. Its softness adds to the spacey, hypnotic feeling, and she's not without range.

There's much to like in the riff department, keeping in mind this isn't a style to be looking for complex, fist-pumping riffs. Solos are present on two of the three tracks and flow smoothly within the respective song structures. The one on the title track is especially excellent. I'm not sure who to give credit. Shane Jeffers is one of their live guitarists and credited on the album, but the bio on the band's website makes it clear Lander captains the ship, writing much, if not most, of the material. Her musical career started as a drummer and her drumming here doesn't disappoint, with simple but propulsive beats. The toms get a workout on “Pelvic Sorcery” (love that title) giving the track a hint of the tribal. Lander handles the keyboards too, which act as an unassuming embellishment rather than the main attraction. With her bass-playing, Kira Longeuay's primary contribution is beefing up the sound, though she also has a sense of groove.

In addition to the previous comparisons, you could think of The White Swan as mid-era Cathedral flooring the distortion pedal, then colliding into early 90s alt-rock. With each EP, The White Swan show progress. It's satisfying to hear them start to fulfill the promise of their earlier output. A sound that's noisy but not abrasive, heavy but not crushing, was worth exploring and still is for that matter. Even so, Touch Taste Destroy would still be pretty good with a boring, dry production. Here's looking forward to a full length.