(2010) Phosphene Dream

The Black Angels

... read moreWhen a band opens its album with a song called "Bad Vibrations," hits the midway point with another called "River of Blood," and titles its grand finale "The Sniper," it's safe to assume that the group is not much worried about seeming wholesome and friendly. And even if the Black Angels had given...

36′:17″ 10 Songs

1
The Black Angels
Bad Vibrations
4:27
2
The Black Angels
Haunting At 1300 Mckinley
2:24
3
The Black Angels
Yellow Elevator #2
4:57
4
The Black Angels
Sunday Afternoon
2:44
5
The Black Angels
River Of Blood
3:58
6
The Black Angels
Entrance Song
3:39
7
The Black Angels
Phosphene Dream
3:42
8
The Black Angels
True Believers
4:33
9
The Black Angels
Telephone
1:59
10
The Black Angels
The Sniper
3:54
Released 14 September 2010, ℗ Blue Horizon

Review

When a band opens its album with a song called "Bad Vibrations," hits the midway point with another called "River of Blood," and titles its grand finale "The Sniper," it's safe to assume that the group is not much worried about seeming wholesome and friendly. And even if the Black Angels had given the songs on their third full-length album, Phosphene Dream, titles relating to bunnies, flowers, and ice cream, this music would still cast a long shadow of bad karma; the Black Angels appear to be stoned on the same stuff Thee Oh Sees have been taking for years, but with fewer hallucinations and a good bit more crummy attitude. While most bands following the path of the gloomy and the stoned sound a bit sloppy, on Phosphene Dream the Black Angels feel tighter and more precise than they ever have before, and the unified attack on these tunes helps the medicine go down without robbing the music of its sinister power. The musicians certainly deliver the goods, calling up a web of guitars, keyboards, and drums that thunder and ooze at the same time, and the melodies walk steadily more than they lurch. Producer Dave Sardy gives this music an approach that's just tidy enough, letting the important noise throb purposefully while letting the extraneous noise fall by the wayside, and he manages to make Phosphene Dream sound cleaner than most albums of this ilk without taking the guts out of the sound. And amidst all that is dark and sinister on this album, "Telephone" is a classic bit of garage rock swagger in which the Black Angels reveal they can make music you can dance to when they feel like it. Sometimes being bad can be more fun than being good, and on Phosphene Dream the Black Angels hit that sweet spot more often than not; next time you're having a séance or reenacting the Sunset Strip riots, this is just the soundtrack you need. ~ Mark Deming