The Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost
Who can’t get off their arse
To help themselves change this government
And better this society
‘Cos it’s shit
Spacemen 3 - "Revolution"
The Black Angels still believe in the revolutionary power of music. Their debut album Passover was inspired by the war in Iraq and this follow-up shares a similar theme, albeit with the request "that people open up their minds and let everything come through." This is, you feel, a suggestion that you take large amounts of mind-altering drugs, regularly.
Musically, they set out their stall with the opener "You On The Run", all 13th Floor Elevators-style chiming guitar and Spacemen 3 fuzz-drones and never really let the formula vary too much from thereon in. "18 Years" builds around a hypnotic organ riff and the obligatory freakouts, backwards guitar and wah-wah frenzies are all present and correct.
The band's sonic weapon might just be Alex Maas, who plays the L.S.Diva to great effect - almost as if a psychic mash-up artist were trying to Frankenstein a dream band ("What would it sound like if Nico had joined Spacemen 3?") Listeners who remember Loop or The Telescopes will find much to appreciate here.
If, as the band claim, events in the Middle East remain an inspiration, the impact lyrically is of the abstract variety: "In and out / On a Viking warship / We want you on our island / If we can ever find it". But sonically, these songs are the channeled echoes of Altamont and the Spahn Ranch which, as a true psychedelic band, is about a heavy and real as you want to get.
Directions ... is, in truth, a little one dimensional in the sense that the tone doesn't let up much, but if your bent is in any way altered then such repetition is of little consequence.