Electric Swan
Swirl in Gravity

Those familiar with the work of Italian hard rock act Wicked Minds will already know guitarist Lucio Calegari and his penchant for vintage psychedelia. For those- like myself- who have gone into listening to Calegari’s Electric Swan without that precedent, it’s enough to know that this is a band fueled with experience and a passion for their influences. Although most progressive rock takes a hint from the classic era in one way or another, Electric Swan truly aims to recreate the crunchy psychedelic sound that dominated both sides of the Atlantic around the end of the 1960s. Assuming you’re already quite familiar with the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple, you should already have an idea whether Electric Swan‘s sophomore Swirl In Gravity will be right for you. From where I’m standing, the band executes the style of their legendary influences admirably, although such a devotion to the past makes Swan a difficult act to be surprised by.

It would be nearly impossible to sincerely describe the music of Electric Swan without digressing into a list of now-legendary bands. To keep this review from looking like a casual ‘classic hard rock’ paperback guide, I will cut myself short by saying that Electric Swan would have sounded right at home at the Woodstock festival. Calegari’s guitar tone and style are taken after the almighty Hendrix, while the often gloomy songwriting and atmosphere may point in the direction of Black Sabbath. Arguably Swan‘s most distinctive element is the powerful voice of vocalist Monica Sardella, who herself sounds like a disciple of Janis Joplin, mixed with a touch of Rush‘s Geddy Lee, circa 1974. As I mentioned, it would be fairly difficult to describe the music of this band without mentioning their influences, if only because Electric Swan seem to make such an effort to emulate them. This is both a bit of a good and bad thing; although most fans of rock and metal will be able to appreciate this tried-and-true blend of distorted guitars and rock organs, they do little to change or ‘update’ it. As if the 2012 release date was a typo off by a few harmless decades, the anachronism of Electric Swan‘s music is what defines it most.

Of course, style is dwarfed in comparison to the actual quality and passion of the music itself, and this is something that Electric Swan do manage to pull off quite admirably. Although the production feels a little rough and muddy, it still conveys the organic quality that I look for in all psychedelic music. Sardella’s vocals are heavy and charismatic, emphasizing power over finesse. If the comparison to Jimi Hendrix wasn’t enough, I’ll make it clear that Lucio Calegari’s guitar work is really impressive, nailing a vintage distortion that fits the music brilliantly. Of course, it must be mentioned the Clive Jones (of classic heavy proggers Black Widow) adds some great sax work for the album’s dramatic highlight, “Garden of Burning Trees”. The performing talent is in no shortage with Electric Swan, and if I were to guess, I would imagine this band sounds awesome live.

With Swirl In Gravity, I find myself torn between enjoying it for its keen musicianship, or finding myself unimpressed by the lack of innovation. I love the vintage style of psychedelia, but in the case of Electric Swan, I have heard better music of this style, most often from the bands that influenced them in the first place. The talent is most certainly here, but I would have to hear Electric Swan take this sound somewhere fresh before I could get really excited over them.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Conor Fynes
July 6th, 2012


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