The Black Angels

Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)

Texas Platters

The Black Angels

Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)

Cold sweat beading the Black Angels' full-length debut, 2006's Passover, on boutique Seattle indie Light in the Attic, still pools like malaria. "The First Vietnamese War" teamed with "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven" (also an EP) power a dread electric hum of reverberating chants, conspiracy guitars, and percussion that snake-charms the reptilian tributaries of Southeast Asia. Directions To See a Ghost two years later slowed the chopper whir. "Bad Vibrations" opens the local quintet's third LP, Phosphene Dream, at a similarly intestinal tempo, an extension of its predecessors, then hits double-time – the new weapon in the Black Angels' arsenal. Finally, the apocalypse comes at a gallop. A hand-clap flip on "Haunting at 1300 McKinley" jolts every time its overlay of quickening bash-and-strum cuts crop circles in the lawn. "River of Blood" thickens its organ-lit crash of acid guitars with intervals of pulsating freak-out. Not that the Angels' trademark trance time has become roadkill. On the contrary: "Entrance Song" locks its mantra's steely hypnotism ("rolling down I-35") into a lethal hook, and underwater malaise floods the title track. Further riff recall pushes the buttons of "Yellow Elevator #2," Clinic's bad fun-house dissolving into Pink Floyd, though it's the succeeding "Sunday Afternoon" that spooks up the Angels' blueprint, psych pioneers the 13th Floor Elevators, by doppelgänging electric jug while this time honing their Brit-pop aura on the Zombies. Alex Maas' nasal drone further puts the English to "True Believers," then "Telephone" swings like London 1966, or even the Sir Douglas Quintet's Vox-shaking heyday as voiced by the Yardbirds' Keith Relf. Closer "The Sniper" fires off rounds that recall its titular elder. Phosphene Dream, count backward from 99.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More the Black Angels
Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, April 29, 2011

Texas Platters
7 and 7 Is
Doves, Silent Grips, the Young, Camp X-Ray, Country EP (Record Review)

Austin Powell, Sept. 19, 2008

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
William Harries Graham
Jakes (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 12, 2019

Texas Platters
Rebecca Loebe
Give Up Your Ghosts (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, April 12, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Texas Platters
Grupo Fantasma
American Music Vol. VII (Record Review)

April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
Sydney Wright
Seiche (Record Review)

April 5, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

the Black Angels

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle