The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow
The band certainly wear their influences on their sleeves, sometimes even mixing a few different styles within a single song. Occasionally they pull it off, but they can’t resist trying their hand at too many things, resulting in the majority of this album feeling lightweight and indulgent.
The album’s opener Indigo Meadow is solid enough, blending a laidback Southern sensibility with a touch of gothic coming from a chilling keyboard riff. Evil Things continues the dark theme, and offers the first glaringly obvious influence in Alex Maas’ aping of Ozzy Osbourne’s vocal style, and the second in an organ line that is Ray Manzarek from The Doors in all but its immobility.
The album’s first single Don’t Play with Guns on the other hand is pure American post-punk with its syth ornaments, driving drumbeat and bubblegum vocals. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album and certainly the most coherent.
On Holland the band manage to combine this post-punk, syth sensibility with the previous Sabbath-esque vocals to surprisingly good effect, producing something atmospheric and almost danceable. However, the album begins to go downhill from there on as they embark on a series of misguided experimentations. They try 60s psychedelia in the guise of The Kinks on The Day and The Small Faces on Love Me Forever and I Hear Colours. But while these tracks capture some of the style, they fall short of creating anything remotely as melodic or catchy as the bands they pay tribute to.
They move on to a Velvet Underground imitation for Always Maybe, complete with “hip” lyrics like “Whatever you need kid, you make it yours” in stark contrast with the black magic contents of earlier tracks. And then comes by far the worst offender: Broken Soldier, which could genuinely be mistaken for a deliberately comic parody of The Doors.
The album’s closing track Black Isn’t Black reverts back to the doom-laden feel of the start of the album, with Maas doing his Ozzy impression again and Christian Bland laying down a nice fuzzy riff. It’s a great closing song, but seems a little out of place after some of the follies that have come before it.
Indigo Meadow is out now on Blue Horizon Ventures
Watch the video for Don’t Play With Guns here: