The Black Angels Phosphene Dream

The Black Angels Phosphene Dream
While their monikers, impending tour together and overall retro-rock vibe make it difficult not to compare Austin, TX's Black Angels with Vancouver, BC's Black Mountain, the Black Angels definitely approach retro-psych rock differently than Stephen McBean and company. The Angels' third record finds the quintet embracing a tight, locked groove, no doubt the result of years of hard touring, resulting in a downplaying of the drone-ier, Velvet Underground-inspired moments of the past. But rather than just lunging forward with the rhythm, guitarists Christian Bland and Nate Ryan are able to create some great, swirling guitar lines, complemented by Alex Maas's always trippy vocals. Producer D. Sardy (Jet and Wolfmother) boosts the bottom end without washing out the guitars, but otherwise allows the band to do their thing, resulting in their most aggressive record to date. Long-time fans might be put off by the band's move to a harder rocking sound, but the shift is subtle enough that all but the most fickle listeners will find it hard to resist the band's thundering vortex. (Blue Horizon)