The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Austin Powell, April 5, 2013, Music

The Black Angels

Indigo Meadow (Blue Horizon)

On Indigo Meadow, terror finally hits home for the Black Angels. As if to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the locals' fourth LP and first since the departure of longtime guitarist Nate Ryan tackles the lasting toll of war – both foreign and domestic. "Broken Soldier" tells of a veteran "wounded in both legs" and struggling to regain intimacy. "I want to feel safe closing my eyes with you," intones frontman Alex Maas. He then lands a kill shot in the post-traumatic stress disorder of "Evil Things," which addresses a similar struggle to regain normalcy. "We're the same with bad intentions," he notes in a moment of sheer menace. The statement could just as easily summarize Indigo Meadow. Produced by John Congleton, the album bridges the quartet's trademark dark reverberations with the fun-house psych of 2010 breakthrough Phosphene Dream, only with more studio effects than all four sides of The Beatles (see "I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)") and an emphasis on the Doors' Soft Parade-era organ. "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven," from 2006 debut Passover, gets a reboot in the charging "Don't Play With the Guns" starring Josephine, a femme fatale finding happiness in a warm revolver. Not every drone strike connects: "War on Holiday" and "Holland" both make for better music licensing than listening, suffering from dull lyricism, but that's countered by "Twisted Light," which inverts the 13th Floor Elevators' cosmic message. "Slip inside your helpless mind," instructs guitarist Christian Bland. For the Black Angels, there's no shelter from war games. (The Black Angels help headline the sixth annual Austin Psych Fest, April 26-28, Carson Creek Ranch.)


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