Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Passover - The Black Angels (#3, 2006)

The Black Angels are an Austin, TX band that plays at events like Psychedelic Music festivals. They've backed Roky Erickson on a West Coast tour. Many times they remind me a bit of another Texas band, The Secret Machines. It might be the singing, but also some of the song dynamics. Whereas Secret Machines do with the '70s pomp and prog, Black Angels do more of a '60s psychedelic garage drone.

"Young Men Dead" from Passover (2006) [different video]

Whereas Secret Machines sound a sci-fi military glorification, a la Yes and Starship Troopers, Black Angels are still talking about "The First Vietnamese War," a la Hell no, We won't go!! By the third song on Passover (2006), "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven," they're referencing Pink Floyd's 1967 debut, sounding a bit like Jim Morrison fronting the Velvets, and still talking in deadly military metaphors. So, that's what you get: a druggy, droney guitar noise locked into your groovy rock songs, and delivered with an engaged, detached, passionate cool.

"Black Grease" is the fuzztastic standout hit song [official video], about like girls and stuff. I actually prefer the moodier, even more drone "Manipulation." About a Technicolor sitar vision of a crazy psychedelic girl, with a cool Red Krayola/Mayo Thompson style vocal part. But enough with the lovey-dovey, and back to the sociopolitical commentary (and pysch-rock dronin')! As the Black Angels will tell you, the "Empire" is very oppressive - epicly, Orgasmatron-ically oppressive! Good song here, nice drum and bass parts, a noisier outro, shows the band's reach without sounding out of place. Even the slight dip in quality with "Better Off Alone" isn't a significant mark on the record. It's pretty consistently good the whole way through. There's also the differentish, (Hats off to) Roy Harper-esque "Bloodhounds on my Trail," showing yet another facet.

Then at the end, they make it all clear with an acoustic "hidden track" (after a lengthy silence): It was all about the Iraq War!! Ahhh...

Now I just need to get the new one.

Official - theblackangels.com/
Myspace - myspace.com/theblackangels
Purchase - Light in the Attic
iTunes - The Black Angels

Genre - Drone-Rock Psych
Review - Stylus Magazine

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