[Light in the Attic; 15/04/2008]
The Black Angels are one of the many bands kicking around these days influenced by the likes of The Velvet Underground and various other art-rock psychedelic collectives from the 1960s and early '70s. Unlike many modern day artists who don't directly sight this period of music as influential, The Black Angels are the contrary to this belief, with their moniker deriving from a Velvet's song, while the band's trademark logo is a manipulated image of none other than Nico.
The band's sophomore album, Directions to See a Ghost has its strong points and weak ones, too. The strengths of this album rank among the best material the band has written so far, comprising of bohemian undertones that run at a nice parallel with the waves of drone and
slight tweaks of manipulated sounds washing over the mix in refreshing fashion.
Although the riff that swirls between the rhythms of 'Doves' is near identical to The Brian Jonestown Massacre's 'Here to Go', the remainder of the song is a well constructed menacing force that showcases what The Black Angels are all about. 'Never/Ever' is a heat generating jam-fest that breaks the mould of their psychedelic swoon, while 'You In Colour' draws upon a more expansive sound the band rips into throughout the stronger parts of the album.
The areas mentioned above are The Black Angels expanding on what was achieved during their debut album, Passover. Stretching their songs out as to flex a muscle, the results - at times - are good, while others remain a little stagnant. The extraction of ideas from their contemporaries as apposed to their influences can be heard from time to time on Directions to See a Ghost, which ranks as disappointing, as this band is much better than that.
By Simon K