Black Swan Lane play melodic and fairly gentle tunes given a goth air thanks to the husky vocals of Jack Sobel (who along with John Kolbeck is the only original member, former Chameleon Mark Burgess having left).
They’ve not changed their sound over the three albums we have in the Review Corner vaults (there’s three earlier ones) and nothing on this is as immediately catchy as Relax and Breathe, possibly their best track, though opener DNA is similar, just a bit slower.
Relax and Breathe does sound upbeat but this album is gloomy from the title onwards: it reminded the literary Review Cornerer of Thomas Hardy’s “Happiness is but a mere episode in the general drama of pain”.
Despite being the stuff of life, DNA is as lyrically gloomy as funeral (“You’re the pain I can’t erase”, “Time steals my hope”) while Dust and its evocation of death is actually more suggestive of life, albeit more macabre with the repeated line of “taste the bloody when it’s warm”.
Body And Soul is a bit of a standout, though obviously it’s not about keeping body and soul together but body and soul being alone and burning from sin.
Pretty in Tears is also good. The lyrics get gloomier as it goes on, such as Time (not on your side, obviously), More (can’t feel any more) and Lonely (as it sounds).
The title track comes near the end and explains it all: drugs are the only way to experience a moment of happiness in this veil of tears.
But don’t let us put you off: it’s a fine album and quite enjoyable. It’s easy to listen to and uplifting in places. Try Lonely or the excellent Relax and Breathe.