The Austin psych rock masters return with a meditative new album which drops the listener straight into its hallucinatory vision
Having formed in 2004, The Black Angels were at the forefront of the psych revival and the genre’s modern day leaders now return with their first full-length album in four years. Leaving behind some of the slighter side of Indigo Meadow, Death Song circles back to the welcome drone of their previous work with the presence of The Velvet Underground and The 13th Floor Elevators still apparent.
Currency welcomes you with a totemic rhythm that propels its attack on the evils of money. “One day this will all be over/One day you will all be gone” cries Alex Maas as the layers of resistance, in the shape of thumping drums and chattering organ, build behind him. The die is thus cast for the rest of the album. Especially enjoyable are Comanche Moon, which can’t completely hide the catchy melody flowing beneath its surface, and the clout of Hunt Me Down.
Death Song is an album that will please fans of The Black Angels, there’s plenty of groove to get lost within and it’s purpose-built for late night jams – Medicine and its comments about prescription drugs proving presciently hypnotic and more than a little funky. Whether new ears will prick up this time around is uncertain, but when a psych band known for their menace are bringing nuanced creations like Life Song to the party, it’s those ears that are missing out.
Verdict: A serious return to form