Blue Horizon Ventures
It’s album number four for the Texan psychedelic-rock/indie outfit, reduced now to a quartet with frontman Alex Maas handling the bass duties (or doubling on organ) and it’s a strong build from 2008’s Directions To See A Ghost and particularly 2010’s Phosphene Dream. In fact I’d almost go so far as to say it’s the band’s best album, but then The Black Angels have something I like; a heart-on-sleeve love for the 1960s and yet it’s not just trace-around stuff, their albums are built around strong songs as well as evocations of that era, sounds from the past made to fit (into) songs of this age.
So there’s a lot to like across the catalogue but it’s Indigo Meadow that particularly has me hooked – newly energised, and for all the talk of psychedelic rock and particularly the 1960s you can hear plenty of strong indie flavours from more recent times, even some of the mope-meets-shoegaze-meets-proto-Britpop of the likes of Suede on Don’t Play With Guns.
But that swirling organ sound does suggest primary source The Velvet Underground and also The Doors. There’s even, on War On Holiday, something of the feel of Syd Barrett’s great Floyd number, Lucifer Sam.
All of these flavours and colours are mixed in by Maas and delivered to appeal to anyone taken with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Black Lips or Black Keys or, hey, let’s get off that whole bands called ‘Black something…’ trip, and you’ll find something here too if you dig on Wooden Shjips and/or Moon Duo.
The Black Angels are riding high currently – rave reviews for gigs, touring NZ soon too, but this album is a keeper. I’ve really been digging it. I have a good feeling that most of this album will sound shit-hot live but – more importantly – that I’ll return to it (and for a long time too) after the show. The band is playing a lot of Indigo material as part of their current tour so if you’re thinking of going to the gig and you haven’t heard this album already then there’s still time to get on board. Of course there’ll also be a backlash too, no doubt; suggestions that the hype just isn’t justified.
Well, I love this band. And I really love this record.