10. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2010)
When Swans broke up in 1997, Gira immediately threw his energy into another project: the quieter, more explicitly folk Angels Of Light. After six good-to-brilliant albums with the Angels (including the untouchable How I Loved You), Gira decided to resurrect the Swans moniker to return to darker, heavier music once again. Which is sort of what he does here, but not quite. This record's single biggest failing is that it sounds a lot more like Angels than Swans, with its heavy reliance on Appalachian folk instruments and not-big drumming. It's a great record, but it doesn't quite scratch that Swans itch. More than anything tangible, it's a difference in texture -- Gira affects the same exaggerated drawl he used exclusively with Angels (which would vanish on the most recent album, go figure), and the rhythm section just sounds subdued. Jarboe, ever the foil to Gira's booming ruminations, is noticeably absent. Luckily, Angels were a hell of a band in their own right. With the help of a mixed crew of Angels and Swans bandmates, every song here comes out a winner in its own right, with a few of the rowdiest moments approaching the stomp of days past.