Album Review

Indigo Meadow

Indigo Meadow

by The Black Angels

Blue Horizon Records
7.5 / 10
31st May, 2013

Reviewed by Chris Jamieson

The (now) four-piece neo-psychedelic rock act The Black Angels drop their fourth full length effort, Indigo Meadow, on the back of a triptych of inredibly strong records. Not ones to disappoint, The Black Angels drop another enjoyable and interesting effort.

The Black Angels have never ventured much outside of their comfort zone, opting to improve their strict formula with each album instead. As a result, Indigo Meadow exists in the same sonic space as previous outings but it's a more dynamic, less abrasive offering when compared with Passover or even its' predecessor, Phosphene Dream. The production is more polished than usual and the tracks are more pop-oriented, but none of the band's charm is lost because of this. In fact, Indigo Meadow may be their most consistent albums: each track here contains both catchy hooks and their requisite and ongoing dark undertones. The best example of this is first single ‘Don't Play with Guns’, a track that takes an obvious stab at American gun control (or lack thereof) legislation. The core of this song is a dense, bass-heavy rhythm and an infectious vocal delivery courtesy of Alex Maas, who gives Indigo Meadow a whole new dimension with his playful tone.

There are a lot of Moments on Indigo Meadow that only become more significant with multiple listens. The best examples of this are ‘Love Me Forever’ and its simple-yet-poignant chorus repeating "Love me forever/Love me or never" over a cool, sharp guitar riff. Also, at opposite ends are "Holland" and "You're Mine", the former being an eerie, mid-tempo Brian Jonestown Massacre reminiscing psychedelic tune. The hypnotic organ lead and reverbed guitar create a shady atmosphere, feeling like the soundtrack to a late night walk in the woods. "You're Mine", however, is one of Black Angels' poppiest tunes ever: the song finds a love-absorbed Alex Maas sharing his feelings towards a girl. There are traces of psychedelia present through the background synths and high pitched guitar solos towards the end, but again the flawless vocal delivery and groovy rhythm inevitably get stuck in the listener's head. Some fans might find it too positive in contrast with the band's usual stark output, yet within Indigo Meadow's context this unexpected garage pop rock track really finds its' place. Other highlights include the marching, tremolo-laden "Broken Soldier" which echoes The Doors and the hectic, LSD-induced ‘I Hear Colours (Chromaesthesia)’ will please the older fans.

In the end, Indigo Meadow is a really cool, fun record that only strengthens The Black Angels' position in their psychedelic rock niche. Some fans might be turned off by the pop leanings, but there's something for everyone here and the filler amount is kept to a minimum. Even so, like most of 60's, it feels familiar at times and doesn't cover much new ground. While other similar bands popped outside the bubble with various results, The Black Angels always stayed put and reworked the same ideas. Thankfully, the pop-tinged material found on Indigo Meadow offers diversity within their catalogue, since they've been churning noisy, reverbed soaked trips for three albums now. Everyone should keep an eye on The Black Angels from now on, because they are slowly expanding and so far it sounds great.

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