Phosphene Dream – The Black Angels

I used to be really skeptical with any band calling themselves “The Black _____”. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always like this. We used to have bands like Black Sabbath and Black Flag. Then the shitheads multiplied and we were stuck with a bunch of emo and REALLY shitty hardcore bands that had embraced the word and tried (and failed) to make it their own. We can thank them for shit like “The Black Parade”, the Black Eyed Peas, and a bunch of stupid emo bands with names like “Black Heart” or some shit that should have made them get their asses kicked in high school. So forgive my skepticism, but I’ve seen ALOT of shit in my generation. Luckily, like when the Cold War ended, everything has been getting turned upside down. It started with bands like the Black Keys and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club setting the example. Black Mountain followed and so did another band from Texas, the Black Angels.

Their debut album came out in 2006 and I was addicted to that shit like Lohan is to coke. It wasn’t like any other psychedelic record. It sounded old. And when I say old, I mean good. This band has found a great way to replicate the 60’s recording sound and add their own modern twist to it and the lyrics reminded me of CCR. Good shit. Then Directions to See A Ghost came out in 2008 and I was kind of bored. It had a couple of great tracks, but it was kind of forgettable and excessive. So after a sophomore slump, the band is back with another badass record.

Phosphene Dream opens with Bad Vibrations, which thank God this song is good or it would have been too easy to make fun of. The kick/outro at the end of this song is what jumps it up from being decent to being awesome. While “Directions” was an album that almost overdid the psychedelic element (10 minute jam songs aren’t that great when you come down), this album cuts down on a lot of that. It’s still a trippy album, but with guitar riffs and reverb, not with a bunch of feedback and noise. They got back to the basics, writing good songs and THEN adding effects to make them even cooler. This is evident in songs like the Haunting of 1300 Mckinley and Sunday Afternoon. When stripped down to their roots, there is undoubtably some great songwriting there. That and there’s not a single song that passes the five-minute mark. That’s surprising for the closer The Sniper, which breaks the tradition of 10-15 minute closers, but still goes out swinging.

If anyone wants to see what I mean when I say the band’s sound mimics 60’s psychedelic recordings with a modern twist, check out the song Telephone.

At the end of it, the album is a solid addition to the band’s catalog. This is the album they should have made after Passover. Oh well, at least they got it right this time. They’re currently touring with Black Mountain and will probably be stopping by a city near you.

Bad Vibrations

First Vietnamese War (off of their first record)

2 Responses to “Phosphene Dream – The Black Angels”
  1. amyblue says:

    phew! This has been sat on my ‘pod for a couple of days, after waiting months for it to come out I was rather apprehensive about listening. ‘Directions…’ wasn’t a huge disappointment but given the songs they didn’t use (check out for lots of boots and radio sessions) it was odd that a there were so many long jammy songs that went nowhere – a lot of reviews suggested they’d run out of ideas while recording – but their live sets suggested they had so much more to record!

    Telephone is completely unexpected and awesome though, hope this record lives up to my expectations now!

  2. Jordan Canio says:

    It will. It’s a lot better than Directions. And apparently all the songs transfer FANTASTIC live. Give it a listen.

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