As promised, here is the Swell Maps' second full-length 'Jane from Occupied Europe,' as gloriously cacophonous a record as its predecessor. While I was writing my last post, I forgot to mention just how successfully evocative the Swell Maps' album artwork was. The sounds within 'Marineville' seem to leap forth from the blazing, barely contained fury of its cover, and with 'Jane' the songs perfectly capture the sense of desolation that accompanies its art, echoing the eerie, quiet aftermath of destruction. But enough about that; to the songs! "Border Country," "Helicopter Spies," and my personal favorite "Cake Shop," would all have fit quite nicely on 'A Trip to Marineville,' sharing that album's sense of reckless, charming naivete and anarchic joy, and the freaked-out, kraut-punk bliss of "Big Maz in the Desert" and "...Vs. the Mangrove Delta Plan" is the stuff of post-punk perfection.
This record hangs together more fluidly than 'A Trip to Marineville,' and while that album's fragmented schizophrenia may be the reason why it's my favorite of the two, I cannot deny the brilliant, unified work that is 'Jane from Occupied Europe.' It is at once a coherent piece and an album on the verge of collapse as sounds drift in and out seemingly at random, creating nightmarish dreamscapes of beautifully dissonant noise. I've gone on enough; simply put, you need this album and the Swell Maps in your life. Coming up next will be most of the singles released by the Maps during their existence, including the immortal "Read About Seymour" and "Let's Build a Car."