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some lovely things that have been said about raised by swans:

“‘We were young/We didn’t heed those things,’ Eric Howden quietly sings in falsetto on opening track “We Were Never Young.” The first moment of No Ghostless Place begins a journey through 13 moments of aural splendour, as themes of fading youth and fleeting love evoke both mournful and triumphant emotions. Raised By Swans has grown from [his] debut album, Codes and Secret Longing, which was enjoyable, but not even close to [his] sophomore album’s transcendent, angelic presence. “Hail of Arrows” is a heart-wrenching song that has early Interpol guitar tones and a strong bass presence keeping the beat. Listening to Howden sing, “But if we don’t shield ourselves then we won’t have to fear the arrows,” creates an eerie sense that anything is possible. The album has staying power, growing in stature the more it’s listened to, as songs like “The Waiting’s Over” and “The Past is the Prey” create contemplative fields that can raise any grief-stricken spirit. This album cannot be missed. (1101)” – Exclaim! Magazine

“Eric Howden has indeed become a master of the swan song: Öxnadalur lies at the edge of idleness, almost giving in to the void, but thoroughly exploiting whatever warm sentiment comes its way with vigor and passion. I loved the album from the first listen.” – insensitivereviews.com

“More than worth the wait….No Ghostless Place shimmers with emotion and fragile beauty. A+” – Scene Magazine

No Ghostless Place is a moving, atmospheric journey through the catacombs of haunting vocal melodies and tenderly plucked guitars. We Were Never Young opens the album in a deliberately delicate style, with the stunning vocals leading the song affectionately along. Next track Hail Of Arrows is a more upbeat affair, in which lead singer Eric Howden optimistically proclaims “it’s hard, to lay arms down, in the arms of the one, who lays you bare”. Throughout the first listen of the album, the delicate and compassionate vocals of Howden seem to lead many of the songs, a few listens on however and the nature of the harsh drumbeats and eerie yet fascinating guitar combine perfectly to provide each and every track with a real fragility. These are songs which work because of the multiple layers on which they are formed upon, most notably on Easier where the layered vocals set a fitting scene for the rest of the instruments. Imagine a Jim Adkins fronted Explosions In The Sky, and you begin to realise the level on which the lush vocals entwine with the expertly composed melodies, leaving the listener trapped in a web of emotional devastation and ardent wonder. The untarnished form that each of the songs are delivered in really begins to drag the listener into the music, the ghosts are not the type you see in children’s fairytales, nor in decrepit desolate shacks, but more the  agonising memories of squandered loves. The Waiting’s Over is a chilling ode to the future in which we may be blindly be leading ourselves into,“where once slept a sinking continent, now there is nothing more” yearns Howden nostalgically. His love of Brian Wilson’s vocals (mentioned in the interview) is clearly evident, both in delivery and subject matter. They are despondent and regretful to a point, whilst leaving the listener at the entrance to a tunnel of aspiration, allowing them to make their own future decisions. Old Fires is another beautiful example of the densely layered vocal harmonies, and serves as a real testament to both the elegance and charm which Raised By Swans possess. Standout track and six minute epic The Past  Is The Prey is a guilt soaked lullaby to an absent partner.  In the opinion of many, last years Hospice by Antlers was the bewitching, captivating masterpiece of the year, and whilst only a few months into this year, it would not be too forthcoming to suggest that the formidable, breathtaking No Ghostless Place could well steal their crown.” – crackintheroad.com (UK)

“On No Ghostless Place, Eric Howden sings about the departure of a love he was never meant to lose, the loss of a youth he never noticed was slipping away, and the struggle to hold onto the only things he has left; lingering memories of everything that’s gone. No Ghostless Place isn’t about the kind of ghosts that wear white sheets, and it’s set somewhere far more haunted than the house at the top of the hill; inside the mind of a brokenhearted poet. – 4 stars” – drankinandsmokin.wordpress.com

“[An] eerie, haunting atmosphere created from a fusion of slow-burning melodies, breathy, pain-stricken vocals and beautifully crafted lyrics.” – 3.5 out of 4” – Grayowl Point online review

“Taking cues from similar-sounding ethereal predecessors like Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky, Canadian [solo artist] Raised By Swans takes listeners on atmospheric introspection with haunting, slow-burn melodies and deliberately plucked guitars. Relatively unknown (despite having a song prominently featured in the film “Chloe”), Raised By Swans taps into themes and musical expression usually captured by more seasoned musicians.

From the starkly beautiful songs on No Ghostless Place — Raised By Swans’ recent follow-up effort to 2005’s Codes and Secret Longing — comes “Secret Garden/S.C.,” a meditative track with ringing melodies, finding serenity in its simplicity. A trudging beat gives the ambient aura a framework, while lead singer/guitarist Eric Howden’s piercing falsetto and vocal architecture lead the listener on a journey through waves of nostalgia and personal reflection.” – rhombusmag.com

“It’s fair to say that Raised by Swans could be placed in the league of those unsigned, unadvertised titans like the post-hardcore, mysterious gods The Pax Cecilia, Sufjan Stevens-like Freelance Whales, or, until a year and a half ago anyway, melodic death metal heroes Be’lakor. The Canadian [solo artist’s] debut Codes and Secret Longing in 2005 was the kind of album that few might share in secret, a treasure that a small number ever discovered. This year’s sophomore No Ghostless Place finds Raised By Swans developing [his] lush sound into a Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World mixed in with a Final Straw-aged Snow Patrol concoction of sorts. While that might sound interesting and appealing to many listeners as it stands, throw in some post-rock guitar tones in the style of Explosion In The Sky, and you have yourself something really promising. Whether it’s the mournful, heartfelt tale of “Night Fighter” or the sheer bliss of pop, hit-in-the-making “Hail Of Arrows”, [Raised By Swans] has a way with crafting a subtle, retrained happiness, or, in the case of the former, bringing me to tears with a mere suggestion…..Raised By Swans is sure to light up the unsigned underground.” – sputnikmusic.com

“A black and silver sheen drapes downbeat guitars and pianos in reverb and shimmering gentility…devastating and dark” – Lorraine Carpenter, Montreal Mirror

“No Ghostless Place” opens with “We Were Never Young”, and it’s this sole reason which compelled me to listen onwards.  The neat, tidy juxtaposition between vocals and guitar are appropriately contrasted: while Howden takes the highs, guitar will often help balance sound so as to not make the track too asymmetrical.  This delicate duet between vocals and guitar is wonderfully displaced by resonance, and the accompanying lyrics are absolutely soy-perb!

“We were you-u-u-ng…

We didn’t heed those things…

If birds were singing then…

We were loved…

We were young,

like the universe,

like our mothers were,

like these words…”

With my newfound appreciation for well-thought-out lyrics, it makes a song all that much better when I hear something simple, yet effective, poetic in its own right; this track is a shining example of what you can expect from Raised By Swans.  I will finish by saying that you’d be foolish not to listen to “No Ghostless Place”.   Once ensnared, you’ll never escape; I know I’m still struggling in its web.” – highlyevolvedau.com

“[singer] Eric Howden has a voice that registers with angels” – Cam Lindsay, Exclaim! Magazine

“Beautifully constructed – and decidedly dark – musical visions” – The Ottawa Sun

“[No Ghostless Place] is a slow burning disc often so sonically beautiful that you can lose sight of it if you are not careful… with each listen an appreciation for its patience and subtleties makes ground on you” – Fazer Magazine

“The Canadian equivalent of Sigur Ros, Mercury Rev, or Radiohead – luscious, ambient, and dream-like” – Decoy Magazine

“The next Broken Social Scene, Stars, Stills, and dare I say Arcade Fire of your generation. I’m dumbfounded when a band drops out of the sky so fully formed and dangerously rocking from the get go!” – Phil Klygo, Weewerk

 

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