The Hex
RICHARD SWIFT

CD £7.99
  • SKU: SC242CD
  • UPC: 0656605024226
  • Release Date: 07 December 2018

Description

Label Review.

2018 album also availble on Vinyl.

Our Overview.

Richard Swift believed in and sought real beauty. Therefore, even at its most caustic and sardonic, his masterpiece swan song ‘The Hex’ is beautiful. Conceived in pieces over the last several years and completed just the month before his passing, ‘The Hex’ is the grand statement Swift acolytes have been awishin’- and-a-hopin’ for all these years. After a career of sticking some of his finest songs on EPs and 45s, here are all his powers coalescing into a single long-playing statement.

Fearless exploration defined the work of Richard Swift as a producer and collaborator. Working mostly at his National Freedom studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon, he guided singer/songwriters toward their most otherworldly music (Damien Jurado, Kevin Morby) and helped more whimsical acts evolve into wilder forms (Foxygen, the Shins). The records he released under his own name, though, were more straightforward and solitary, if not necessarily somber. Playing nearly everything himself and singing through stoned, self-deprecating asides, Swift cracked jokes about his record collection, his frustrations with the industry and how his Quaker upbringing might have doomed him from the start. Swift’s immersive and ornate indie pop suggested he saw himself as a tragic soldier facing a battle larger than himself. Since his death in July at the age of 41, the lyric that’s echoed in my head rings like an epitaph: “My name will go missing/But the songs will be here.”

Richard Swift believed in and sought real beauty. Therefore, even at its most caustic and sardonic, his masterpiece swan song ‘The Hex’ is beautiful. Conceived in pieces over the last several years and completed just the month before his passing, ‘The Hex’ is the grand statement Swift acolytes have been awishin’- and-a-hopin’ for all these years. After a career of sticking some of his finest songs on EPs and 45s, here are all his powers coalescing into a single long-playing statement.

At its core, ‘The Hex’ is an aching call out into the void for Swift’s mother (‘Wendy’) and his sister (‘Sister Song’) whom he lost in back-to-back years. You hear a man at his lowest and spiritually on his heels. The pain fuelling Swift’s cries of “She’s never comin’ back” on the absolutely gutting standout ‘Nancy’ is some sort of dark catharsis for anyone who’s ever lost a loved one to the cold abstraction of death. Over a slow Wall of Sound kick and a warbling synth, Swift’s cries climb higher and higher into what may be his most devastating vocal performance on record. A cry of pain so real and so raw Swift had to treat the performance with just a little studio effect, without which the recorded grieving might be too much to bear.

‘The Hex’ is presented here as ‘The Hex For Family and Friends’. An obsessive fan of Wall of Sound doo-wop, early Funkadelic, Bo Diddley, Beefheart and Link Wray, Swift gives them all a moment with the flashlight around ‘The Hex’ campfire, one moment to make a strange shadow-cast face for us, his family and friends.

Conceived in pieces over the last several years and completed just the month before his passing.

A close collaborator and performer with The Shins and The Black Keys and producer of some of the most loved independent releases of the last 10 years.

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