The Black Angels: Indigo Meadow

black angels, indigo meadowThe Free Dictionary defines “scuzzy” as a mix of “scum” and “fuzzy.” As an adjective, it means “unkempt, dirty, or squalid.” Texas band, The Black Angels’ market themselves as a psychedelic band but they have a fair amount of scuzz to them.

When I think of psychedelic I think of The Byrds, Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd. None of these examples have much in common with the Black Angels. Instead on their fourth full length album, Indigo Meadow, the band exhibits influences of bands like Led Zeppelin, Morrison Hotel-era Doors, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. While these band all came from the psychedelic era, they all had a strong blues influence. The same is heard on Indigo Meadow. It is an album filled with fuzzy bass, snaky vocals, and Vox Continental combo organ.

The album’s opener and titular track begins with a distorted kick and tom drum combo before snaky organ and fuzzy bass are added to the mix. Alex Maas lays half-talked, half-sung lyrics over the mix until the track crescendos with a chorus of distorted guitars and explosive drum rolls. But “Indigo Meadow” is just the beginning, “Evil Things” kicks it up a notch with an even louder distorted guitar and fuzzy bass chorus. The track’s use of lead organ over lead guitar give the track that late Doors feel. Both track’s feel equally scuzzy like something you would hear in bike bar that you are not welcome at.

The mood changes slightly with the album’s lead single “Don’t Play With Guns.” It is the album’s first true pop song. Maas’ vocals take on a Jim Morrison-meets-Tame Impala quality on the track’s chorus and the verses he takes on the cadence of Cake‘s John McCrea. The instrumentation of the song stays fairly consistent with the rest of the album although the organ is used sparingly if at all.

Despite this slight change of pace, the album’s greatest quality is its consistency. The album transports you to a by-gone era of getting stoned while listening to AM radio and it never lets you go. If you like the opening track, chances are you will like the entire album that can not be said for most albums.
Rating: 8.5/10
MP3: The Black Angels “Evil Things”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl

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