New Music: The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest


The Black AngelsClear Lake Forest //

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Tired Eyes”
“Diamond Eyes”
“The Flop”

Album Highlights: Clear Lake Forest is a super solid album from start to finish. One gets the impression that they purposefully set up the track listing to mirror a good acid trip. The album takes you through highs and lows — both sonically and lyrically. Opening track “Sunday Evening” quickly draws you in with its poppy verses and snappy chorus. Songs like “Tired Eyes”, “Diamond Eyes” and “The Flop” bring with them a darker quality but remain infectious. As the album moves on, we come upon the drone-pop ditty “The Occurance at 4507 South Third Street”, which sets the listener up perfectly for the remainder of the album. Coming back down, we come to “The Executioner”, which advises the listener that “If it feels good, do it again!” Finally, we close the album with “Linda’s Gone”, which appropriately brings you back down to Earth gently but without completely taking you out of your haze.

Album Lowlight: Where The Black Angels excel in creating a dreamy, psychedelic wall of sound, I do believe that they tend to borrow a bit too much from their influences. As with many of the neo-psych rock bands, there is a tendency to reproduce the sonic quality of a vintage 60’s LP. Considering the strength of the songs themselves, that is all well and good, but sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past.

Takeaway: Those familiar with The Black Angels’ body of work will be pleasantly surprised by their latest offering. It’s a quick seven-track album, with each track leaving you in acid-laced reverie. There is very little in the way of “dead air” on this album, and even with borrowing much from their forefathers, the production quality is top notch. The album starts off very strong, carries you along for a sweet ride and ends on a mellow note … just like a good bourbon.

~Andrew Pohl


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