Caroline Blind bravely attempts a cover of one of noise legends Swans’ most powerful tracks in “God Damn the Sun,” and personally I found the result of her efforts to be quite fascinating to say the least. With a gilded strum of guitar and an oaky vocal harmony that is rich with texture and inviting to no end, Blind dishes out a menacing melody amidst an instrumental backdrop just as potent as her own vocal is. The chemistry between the players is phenomenal, but the choice of material is perhaps what makes them sound as incredible as they do in this setting.
The dark decadence of the original “God Damn the Sun” remains intact here, but there’s a vitality to this rendition of the song that just wasn’t present in the recording sessions that birthed the Swans classic. Blind has an eagerness to attack the verse, but her gripping command of the verses never translates as being overanxious or even slightly rushed. She clearly has a lot of emotional investment in this performance, and yet the distance in her vocal is evocative and almost tragic in tone which, because of Gordon Young’s incredible mix, affects anyone within earshot of her words.
Aside from the strength of the lead vocal on its own, the true centerpiece of this single is probably the harmony created between Blind and the adjacent strumming of acoustic guitars that carries us from start to finish in “God Damn the Sun.” It defines the mood of the music even more than the substance of the lyrics does, and in an era that has produced a lot of unfeeling records and songs in genres across the pop spectrum, this alone makes the track a worthwhile listen in 2019 – no matter what your taste or interest in Caroline Blind is.
These guitar parts, performed by Rich W. of The Wake and Dave the Dramedy, are absolutely fantastic and make this single an expressive masterpiece by my standards. While Blind gives us all of the context that we need in her lyrical delivery, the string play is what really gives her words the weight needed to swing through the speakers and make a sincere impact on the audience. I hope that this isn’t the last occasion on which this trio work together, because if it were, I think they would be robbing themselves of a group dynamic that could become even more impressive than that of Sunshine Blind.
I don’t usually endorse cover songs as singles, but in the case of Caroline Blind’s reworking of “God Damn the Sun,” it’s just too hard to resist. “God Damn the Sun” is a challenging vocal cover for any musician, but Blind effectively bends it to her will inside of nearly four minutes without ever disrespecting the framework set forth by Swans. I’m interested in hearing the original material that she produces in the near future, but this is unquestionably one of the best and brightest tributes to an iconic band that I’ve had the opportunity of giving a spin lately.