Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Black Angels 

Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic)

Wednesday, Jun 4 2008
Comments

We're well into the dawn of the drone by now. That sultry guitar hum introduced to the punks by the Velvet Underground and blown out to the shoegazers by Spacemen 3 and the Jesus and Mary Chain has, in more recent years, attracted followings for everyone from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to Black Mountain. Done right, all that dilated-pupil distortion and melodramatic jangle makes for seductive pop with a sinister lining. Done poorly, it's monotonous music. The Black Angels were stuck in the latter camp on their debut, Passover, and their second disc, Directions to See a Ghost, shows only momentary spikes in the flatlining.

Part of the problem is we've heard all this before. The same couple chords repeated ad nauseam, the avalanches of fuzz, the sleepy vocals – here they hold neither the danger nor the romance of their predecessors. Heavy guitars alone aren't enough to send listeners' brain cells into a centrifuge, especially when Black Angels don't sound like there's anything lurking below the surface of this Ghost except a desire to play it safe. A notable exception to the lukewarm fare is "18 Years," an intoxicating come-on that'll electrify the hair on your neck with lines like "She's got control of you, and you love it." It's the moment the Black Angels' subdued sound becomes sublime. Elsewhere, though, "Deer-Ree-Shee" and "Vikings" are examples of stoner rock for art school crowds. If only the Black Angels would make good on their claim to really "bomb you 'til Tuesday" instead of continuing to lay this state of monodrone.

About The Author

Jennifer Maerz

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"