“There are ways to get what you want. Find someone who’ll pluck their eyes out to give to a blind asshole like you, to a blind asshole like me too.”
The opening line of Calgary’s Matthew Swann’s newest album is innocently sung over gently plucked guitar, setting the tone for the rest of the record. Comical, dark and abundantly sincere, the debut full-length under the moniker Astral Swans, All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson, is a refreshing take on the struggles and weirdness of life. Compared to Swann’s other, noisier project, Extra Happy Ghost!!!, Astral Swans exposes bald emotion in its stripped down approach with not much more than muted electric guitar and Swann’s wavering voice. Scanty percussion, withering synths and oddly placed echoes are barely noticeable at first but add to the lo-fi charm of the album. Swann has never been afraid of experimentation and Willie Nelson is no exception—it’s a pleasant complement to his other work and a promising start for this new direction.