Music News

The Black Swans

Perhaps Columbus, Ohio's Jerry DeCicca is a happy fellow in his everyday life — the sort of guy given to skipping and random outbursts of whistling. But as the leader of the Black Swans, who share this bill with Roger Green and Ego vs Id, he's capable of inspiring cheer-up messages from suicidal depressives. On Change!, released in late 2007 on the La Société Expéditionnaire imprint, DeCicca, ably assisted by a sensitive crew that includes gifted violinist/viola player Noel Sayre, sings in an existentially fatigued tone over sonic backdrops that find the majesty in gloom — and the words follow suit. Take "Hope Island," during which DeCicca announces that he's "stranded/On Hope Island/All alone." Sure, the relentlessly downcast nature of his worldview can seem smothering at times — particularly at moments when the listener isn't fondling razor blades. Yet there's a purity and sincerity to DeCicca's vision that gives the Black Swans a dark beauty.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts