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Le Cygne Noir: Shadow of A Wrecking Ball no

review cygne noir x1 cong

This zombie apocalypse concept album came out on Friday 13th and is destined to go down as a classic; cult classic maybe, but classic nonetheless.

To say it’s ambitious would be an understatement; it’s huge in scope and styles but the album that keeps coming back to you as it plays is … Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Not a bad comparison to start with, eh?

“Leaving Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds looking like a half-baked invasion by Alvin and The Chipmunks,” says the PR, and it’s not wildly exaggerating.

In fact the geriatric side of the Review Corner said it’s better than War Of The Worlds, which, Forever Autumn and Richard Burton aside, “was a little tedious if you must know”.

We say “debut” but Le Cygne Noir is surely a pseudonym — no beginner could rope in the likes of Julianne Regan (All About Eve), two members of The Mission, including Wayne Hussey, and drummer Cal Campbell (played with Beck and is the son of Glen). There are no clues on the interweb, although Le Cygne Noir means The Black Swan, and there is a respected rock band called Black Swan Lane. Who knows?

It’s largely instrumental so the music tells the story, in a cinematographic way. Opener From The Grave is full-on Floyd era mid-album psychedelia (and a bit WofW, which is clearly an influence). After All Is Said is more thoughtful, with gentle WotW / Tubular Bells synths / piano, the music for survivors getting out of bed before they realise the apocalypse has come.

The title track has the wordless female vocals of Floyd’s Great Gig In The Sky.

Don’t Look Now opens with classical piano before electronics appear underneath, the music for anything scary from John Carpenter to Stranger Things.

For a debut the musicianship is very high, and switches between styles, from the funky Hawkwind psychedelic rock of Zombi Mantra to the gentle ballad No Return (past the point of, obviously) and the string-led Paying The Price, the music from a Bruce Willis movie as he surveys the devastation. The slower songs wind their way to the final track, a solid rocker, Inferno.

The album claims to be a zombie apocalypse but you realise it’s an allegory for climate change and all the damage we are doing to the world, as we sleepwalk like zombies towards the inferno.

Powerful message, stonker of an album.


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