Monday, October 13, 2008

The Black Angels - Directions to See a Ghost (3LP, Light in the Attic)

The psych-drone Black Angels take their name from a Velvet Underground classic, "The Black Angel's Death Song". Their logo is even based on on an image of Nico.

Naming themselves after one of VU's most amelodic songs should have been a warning to me, but I decided to give them a listen anyway. Their debut album, Passover, piqued my interest a little, but was more drone than psych.

However their sophomore release, Directions to See a Ghost, can best be described as a swampy psychedelic miasma. The Black Angels aren't afraid to display their influences unlike most bands, which is part of their charm. You hear hints of The Velvet Underground, Jefferson Airplane and the 13th Floor Elevators (yes, that is an electric jug on "Never/Ever"). There's also a very strong Doors vibe on the opening track, "You on the Run". The first time I heard the track, I thought it was Jim Morrison intoning "Yeah, you've got the FBI / They ain't on your side". Alas, the Lizard King isn't a Black Angel.

While Passover took several years to sell out, the vinyl version of Directions to See a Ghost is already sold out. I'm not sure if Light In the Attic is planning a second pressing, but the first edition is already going for a small fortune on eBay, so grab your copy soon.

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