The Black Angels

Indigo Meadow

Written by: BV on 09/04/2013 18:12:33

The Black Angels are back in business to follow up on 2010’s “Phosphene Dream” as well as the EP collection “Another Nice Pair” from 2011, and they certainly seem to trace their steps back to those releases. Toning down the psych a bit, their influences have been dialed back from the obscure psychedelia to a more ‘roots-rock’ or blues oriented approach in the vein of The Yardbirds. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of revivalist psychedelia and sparkly overdriven guitars on the album to satisfy the psych-heads out there.

When I say revivalist psychedelia, a particular track from this release comes to mind, and that track is “Always Maybe”. “Always Maybe” has the trippy organ sounds that are vastly reminiscent of early 60’s psych, while also having a piece of vocal work on it, that resembles a dark-tinted version of a song that Strawberry Alarm Clock could easily have written. The buzzing guitars are a constant centerpiece in this track, as well as the rest of the album which can also be heard in the slightly blues-vamped “The Day” – which is eerily reminiscent of The Yardbirds’ bluesier spectrum.

The title track of the album, “Indigo Meadow” is one of the more psych-driven moments on the album, with its droning organ sounds and the repetitive bass pattern. The drumming is what I find most interesting about the track though, as it rarely strays from the rhythmic pattern laid out by the rest of the band and therefore maintains the role of rhythmic backbone – a position that is really hard to cling to in full-blown psychedelia where it is more important to follow impulses, rather than be dictated by the rhythmic pattern.

The Black Angels nonetheless possess the same major weakness as many other revivalist bands out there – they can’t seem to draw the line on when something is interesting, and when it simply becomes too much. With its 13 tracks “Indigo Meadow” is a relatively long release in a genre dominated by repetitive rhythmic patterns, eerie organ sounds and fuzzy guitars, and as such results in runtime that is slightly satisfying, yet incredibly monotonous towards the end, where it essentially seems like you’ve heard the same 3-4 tracks more than a couple of times. An example of this, could very well be “Broken Soldier” where most of the song maintains the same pattern throughout, containing only slight variations in the overall dynamics, followed by unnervingly short outburst of energy in what is supposedly meant to be a grandiose chorus, rather than just a slightly random outburst of bottled up energy.

In short, I like The Black Angels but like many of their contemporaries, it saddens me to see and hear that they fall in the same ‘appealing’ traps of beefing up the songs with more fuzz and organ, rather than improving on the overall structure of the songs. Nonetheless, I might pick up this album and listen to it again, despite the fact that it is not nearly as great an effort the previous albums, from a usually great band.

Download: Indigo Meadow, Always Maybe, Don’t Play With Guns
For The Fans Of: Greenleaf, Psychic Ills, Sgt. Sunshine

Release Date 02.04.2013
Blue Horizon Ventures

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