The Blue Angel Lounge - Narcotica
The second studio album from German band The Blue Angel Lounge is not one that chooses to conceal its influences in any way. From the opening notes of ‘Narcotica’, The Velvet Underground, and the entire shoegaze genre are all present and correct. There may be some vocals there somewhere, but they are buried so deep in the mix as to be absolutely indistinguishable. The sub-Interpol dark, driving rhythms of new single ‘Caught Crow’ linger before the album begins to delve into serious psychedelic territory - and stays there. What vocals there are seem to channel Syd Barrett, while the production talents of Anton Newcombe (of The Brian Jonestown Massacre) couch Narcotica in a heavy haze becoming of the album’s name. The woozy, delayed guitars and tambourine of ‘Bewitch My Senses’ are authentic enough, and tracks ‘Darklands’ (all gothic synths) and ‘New Ghandi’ are almost unrelentingly bleak. There’s no doubt that The Blue Angel Lounge has a knack for creating an immersive dark sound, but when it’s so overpowering and lacking in even a short respite, the end unfortunately comes as a relief.