Monday, September 19, 2022

The Black Angels - Wilderness of Mirrors


Wilderness of Mirrors The new album from Austin, Texas Psych stalwarts The Black Angels initially plays rather too readily to audience expectations. You can practically hear the chains rattling and lab flasks bubbling over on the opening tracks, all the time Funtime Stooges Scott Asheton signature guitar throb pulsing underneath. 

It's all rather too much painting by dark numbers, largely atmosphere rather than songs, at least at the start if the record. 13th Floor Elevators, meet The Velvet,s meet The Stooges, meet Can or Faust meet The Jesus Mary Chain meet Spiritualised. In the crypt. At midnight. We've been here rather too many times before, and I can't help feeling Black Angels are capable of much, much more.

However, as always with this band, it's well worth persevering El Jardin sounds like they've persuaded Grace Slick at her very peak to join the seance, and from here on some wonderful, pitch black, funereal fun is to be had. The record certainly improves from here and there are some moments of genuine psychedelic dread to be had. 

There's nothing here quite as inspired as on Luca singer Alex Maas's wonderful 2020 album, and it's certainly a few tracks too long, but this shows The Black Angels largely taking care of business. There's a good record here but it lacks the editing room pruning it needs and comes across as slightly misshapen . As it is, it's down to the listener to  separate the wheat from the chaff. A mixed bag and missed opportunity.

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