Black Swans – Occasion for Song

January 01, 1970



DeCicca is the sort of singer who could make Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen sound
positively giddy by comparison. Spurred on by sadness and sobriety, he’s
immersed his band, the Black Swans, in an overclouded pall of despair that
leaves no room at all for the sun to shine through. After all, tis the same
group that dubbed their debut album Who Will Walk In The Darkness With You and all these years later, they’ve yet to find the light.



The Black Swans – Portsmouth, Ohio by misrarecords


So it’s
probably not surprising then that Occasion For Song should follow suit,
and while the hushed melodies continue to boast their beauty — what with mournful
harp, spare acoustic accompaniment and a tempo that mostly moves at a snail’s
pace — DeCicca’s unrelenting melancholia is enough to make the listener want
to slap him across the face and shout “Snap out of it!” That he should maintain
this moody posture over the course of four albums is enough to make an amateur
psychiatrist question whether his mother might have rejected him early on,
given the stilted nature of songs such as “Bound To Be,” ‘Portsmouth Ohio,”
“Somewhere Else” and “Shake Me Up,” a title that suggests that perhaps a good
shake may, in fact, be in order. When the band adds a hint of a shuffle, as in
“JD’s Blues” and “Fickle and Faded,” the band’s tattered country-folk charms
are fully revealed, but sadly the momentum’s not maintained once DeCicca and
company quickly slip back into their plaintive posturing. If indeed this is
occasion for song, it’s likely a month of mourning that’s spurring them on.



DOWNLOAD: “JD’s Blues,” “Bound To Be,” “Fickle and Faded” LEE


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