Album Review: The Black Angels – Another Nice Pair

While perusing the list of goodies being released on Record Store Day a few days before heading out to Los Angeles, my heart skipped a beat. Maybe even two beats. For you see, my darlings, there were two items of extreme interest being released for RSD 2011, and for a Black Angels fan like me, they both got me pretty dang excited, not to mention pretty dang impatient. As I’ve said before, patience is not a virtue I have much time for. Thankfully, my impatience was rewarded, loves, with my very own copy of both of these coveted Record Store Day treasures.

Another Nice Pair, one of the Black Angels duo of RSD treats, is a compendium of two EPs put together all nice and convenient like on one super sexy, lollipop luscious translucent cherry red vinyl. Yummy doesn’t even begin to cover it. Side A contains 2005’s The Black Angels EP, four fiery, furious, politically-leaning heavy psych classics-to-be. Three of the songs are familiar old friends, having made the cut and onto the band’s incredible debut, Passover, but I also appreciate the inclusion of “Winter ’68,” a relatively spare, stark song (by Black Angels standards, mind), sounding almost fragile in comparison to the bold, massive walls of drone that bookend the song. “Manipulation” proves once again why it’s one of my all-time favorite Black Angels songs, all swirling and disorienting and huge.

The flip side offers up the magic carpet ride delights of 2008’s Black Angel Exit EP, an extra special happening since none of the four songs can be found on any US versions of the band’s LPs. “Surf City (Revisited)” often makes it into the band’s live sets, and the rollicking chaos of the song get things started off on the right, haunting note. I don’t know that I’d ever heard “Paladin’s Last Stand” before, but damned if I didn’t adore it by the time my first listen was over. The subtly sinister snarl of the guitars stand out even amongst the rest of The Black Angels oeuvre. Killer song, absolutely deadly, and odds are good it turns into one of my favorites. Having recently done a tour with Black Mountain, it’s not really a surprise to see The Black Angels cover “No Satisfaction,” but their treatment is a definite departure from the somewhat sonically bubbly psych version you’ll find recorded by Black Mountain. This version treads darker territory, almost growls at you from deep within your speakers, adding that touch of Black Angels dissatisfaction and making the song their own. The whole thing comes to a close with “Black Angel Exit/Shine,” an epic track that almost makes me think of early, rambling Verve songs, where the foursome from the North of England tried out their own brand of psychedelic odysseys. As with most Black Angels songs, it’s nigh on hypnotic.

mp3: Winter '68 (The Black Angels from Another Nice Pair) (many thanks, Indie Rock Cafe)


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