The Black Angels Directions to See a Ghost

The Black Angels Directions to See a Ghost
By about the halfway point of track two, the knee-jerk Jesus and Mary Chain/Spacemen 3 also-ran objections have all but dried up. And when on track six vocalist Ales Maas busts out his "rogue sitar,” it’s clear the Austin sextet are venturing into an older, vaster cosmos. This sophomore release builds upon then surpasses 2006’s Passover by getting dumber and deeper quicker. In the world of dense one-chord drones, dumb and deep are key elements, as are layers of shag pile guitar fuzz and Stephanie Bailey’s drum and percussion work, which melds Bonham tom stomp with tambourine jangle like a raptor with a change purse. Given the band’s name appropriation, the Velvet Underground comparisons are essentially unavoidable, but on tracks like "18 Years,” which comes nearest to a VU groove, the Angels fill in the middle ground with guitar lines that travel forward, sideways and reverse, at times. Only with the album’s 16-minute closer do they approach over-extension, but even that piece ends well. As for seeing a ghost? Not yet. Still looking. (Light In The Attic)