Friday, April 18, 2008

Album Review: The Black Angels - Directions to See a Ghost

The Black Angels first album introduced the world to their hazy, psychedelic brand of rock. Passover showed off their many influences; The Velvet Underground (from whose song their name is derived) combined with Black Sabbath with a little shoegaze thrown in. They make the kind of haunting melodies that invade your mind and don’t let go. I expected a lot from Directions to See a Ghost. I wanted them to go above and beyond their previous efforts and make a truly great album experience from start to finish.

The album starts off great. The first track grabs you with its driving drums and fuzzed out guitars. It is followed by the shimmery “Doves” with a more upbeat sound contrasted with lead singer Alex Maas’s mournful vocals.

“Science Killer” is a lumbering bass heavy track that is slow and hypnotic. On “Deer-Ree-Shee” the band takes the sound of Beatles tracks like “Within You Without You” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” and adds their own distortion laden wall of sound. Other highlights include the 8 minute “Never/Ever” that builds into a sonic assault. The album closes with the 16 minute fuzzfest “Snake in the Grass”.

The Black Angels gives you what you would expect on this album. It is filled with feedback laden dirges that engulf you. There is enough experimentation to keep the listener interested though it grows somewhat stale for a few songs at the end. The Black Angels sound is both progressive and classic at the same time and will leave you wanting more.

Score: 8/10

Key Tracks: “You on the Run”, “Never/Ever”


  1. Matt, you should work for Rolling Stone! That's a cool review.

    Btw, what's your opinion on Josh Ritter? I, obviously, love him. He's kind of like Tom Petty in that while I sometimes feel he doesn't add new ideas to the way music is played, his songs are so well written that they stand alone within the genre.
    Anyway, I'd be interested to see what you music afficionados have to say.

  2. I was thinking similar thoughts. Do you actually write these, or do you just copy and paste them from other sources? Whenever I read stuff you post I get imagery or you being Patrick Bateman talking about Sussudio.

  3. well, I wrote this one cause I was bored. The other ones I just copy the links and write a blurb or something. I've never heard Josh Ritter. I'll have to try him out.