Sunday, 26 September 2010

THE BLACK ANGELS : Phosphene Dream

((( Phosphene )))

A visual occurrence characterized by seeing light without having light actually enter into the eye. The optic nerve translates this pressure into various images.

Having descended upon earth to enable us to dig up light in our innermost beings, The Black Angels have brought up enough brightness to make an army go blind with their new psychedelic odyssey.

The enigmatic "Bad Vibrations", though reminiscent of the early trademark drone sound of the band breaches to propel the listener into a new realm of sensations with a sudden change of rhythm and distinct change of tone.

The Velvets’ influence has now given way to the prominence of The Beatles and The Doors circa Sgt. Pepper and Waiting For The Sun.

Thus starts the technicolor dream, an ode to the sixties endowed with numerous subliminal images, blink and you’ll see Syd Barrett’s shadow emerging in "The Hauting At 1300" amidst the Angels’ sinuous stream (see the artwork), reasserting Christian Bland’s lordly flair.

Alex Maas’s singing comes out more versatile and uplifting than previously, the howl has turned into a floating sound, displaying more of his vocal range, along with colorful beams.

The bedazzling "Yellow Elevator # 2" bounces off the walls, spicing up the experience a notch, it is a rollercoaster of groovy sensations with mingled voices that will provide you pure bliss.

"Sunday Afternoon" sees the return of the electric jug that was initially used by The Thirteen Floor Elevators, fellow austinites and psychedelic pioneers, the Angels have also been Roky Erickson’s rhythmic band in the past, their intense version of Rollercoaster is featured in the Sonic Cathedral tribute to the Elevators released this year.

The band is still stuck in Vietnam, crawling up a "River of Blood" prior to one of the highlights of the album, the majestic and spiritual "Entrance Song" with its native American incantation and haunting spirit. Back in esoteric territory, echoed by the self-titled tune and the mindblowing "True Believers"!

Dreams are regarded with great respect in Native American culture, they are seen as a means of obtaining sacred wisdom and guidance for life.

The radiofriendly track "Telephone" is an exception to the rule, it is their means to acquire a larger audience. This may not appeal to early fans of the quintet who favor drone and darker atmospheres, however one must salute a band that does not repeat itself and follows a coherent evolution. While they may lose parts of their audience with this new album, they will definitely reach a new one.

Phosphene Dream may not have the stark imprint of Passover or the flamboyance of Directions To See A Ghost but it is a vibrant ride and "interstellar hyperdrive" ornamented with “tangerine trees and marmalade skies” and also with more profound, mystical and unworldly images and sensations lying beneath, ready to burst out and hit you…

Throughout your sonic dreams, these psychedelic renegades’ spell will keep giving you prophetic visions.

Phosphene Dream was released on Blue Horizon Records on September, 13th 2010.


  1. A record I've been looking forward to this year. Of the few songs I've heard, it's really good. I hope I get it soon enough.

  2. Thanks! haven't heard the album yet, I'll check it out

  3. In my opinion, the best album of the band. the mono-tonal aspects of their previous works was efficient, but a bit boring. This new one comes up with odd structures, rythm changes, etc. Welcome to the true psychedelia.

  4. Sniper at the gates of Dawn28 September 2010 at 16:02

    Alright band.
    Poor album
    Suitable for a 60s party but thats about it.
    The problem with the black angels are they are so backward in their
    thinking that I wish their time machine into the 60s would just blow up.

    Bands doing psychedelia have passed the black angels ages ago in
    taking the music forward.

    Please can we not drag it back into the 60s.

    This record sounds like a bunch of one trick ponies covering 'The Doors'

    Black angels fans need to get over this record and realise that this band are no longer important.

    Take for example Anton's BJM, constantly throwing out music that twists and turns and taking psychedelia forward, we never whats coming next.

    I was the black angels number 1 fan but now I'm quite bored of all their stuff and the new album is frankly TERRIBLE.

    We all need to be honest and stop trying to defend them.

    Right, I'm off to listen to some REAL GREAT PSYCHEDELIC music.
    So many amazing bands out there right now that make the black angels
    sound like what they have become: ' a parody of the 60s',
    a pub rock band!!!

  5. First off, when did I say that this was the only cool or #1 current psychedelic band??
    I have praised and reviewed many other psychedelic bands.
    I admire BJM and regard Anton as the best songwriter of the last two decades.
    I don't know what kind of pub you go to but I'd be happy to see bands like them every night.
    People have the right to like this album, whether you like it or not.
    You don't have to be so self-righteous!

  6. It looks quite interesting. I will check it out.
    how did you find them btw?

  7. They are well-known in the psychedelic scene, I first came across them four years ago when their debut album was released and they were opening for bands such as The Black Keys, BRMC and BJM.