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Phosphene Dream (Deluxe Edition)

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iTunes Review

Texas’ Black Angels make wonderfully dark, mesmerizing psychedelic music, and one of their secret weapons is vocalist Alex Maas, who sounds a bit like the devil trying to be coy. His pinched whine is — delightfully -— both winsome and sinister, and Phosphene Dream burrows deep into the murk and morass of psych-rock weighted with paranoia and unease. The Velvet Underground may be the group’s patron saint, but they have a clear fondness for other dark horses of the genre, namely the Doors and 13th Floor Elevators. (iTunes bonus track “Ronettes” is a stroke of genius: VU produced by Phil Spector, with Ray Manzarek on keys.) Tracks like “Sunday Afternoon” (in which the band gives a nod to the Elevators’ electric jug sound) and “Telephone” are real surprises, accented with flavors of both Madchester and ‘60s Brit-pop, and killer opening track “Bad Vibrations” shifts suddenly from a sinuous, pinwheeling parade of effects-drenched guitar and reverb haze to a revved-up, violent end. Phosphene Dream is full of surprises, and holds its charm for many listenings.

Customer Reviews

A Step in the Right Direction

This is a brilliant album by The Black Angels. They are one of my favorite young bands out there right now. Probably #1 for me. I loved their first two albums pretty much equally. I'm always going back and forth between the two. But there is something different about Phosphene Dream. It has something that the others lacked. Though there is no doubt in my mind that these artists put every bit of their heart and soul into their first two albums, their third album seems to have more spirit. It's not quite as dark (the darkness is what I loved about the first two), but somehow feels darker yet it has a hint of hope that the previous two lacked. Their sound seems much more concise and deliberate, yet still keeps the garage band feel. The song "Sunday Afternoon" is eerily reminiscent of The Doors' "I Looked at You". They do psychedelic rock as good as any band from the late 60s while adding their own modern twist with a hint of progressive post-rock. These guys are brilliant, and this is their best effort yet, but I'm almost certain their next album will be even better. They're growing as a band like weeds.

Well done indeed.

After reading through some reviews I think everyone has valid points but the one that stood out to me is that they've come out of their niche as a dark psych band, if you will. I do agree that the noise could be turned a bit but they bring in a lot of other elements that weren't present in their last efforts. It's a journey through the best moments of psychedelia - dark and light - and that's just awesome. Not to mention the harmonies are fantastic.

ps. I'd never say it's their best but The Soft Parade is a super underrated Doors album.

Rethink your preconceived notions.

Phosphene Dream is a deceiving record - meaning, it's surprising. The black Angels are no longer just a niche rock band, they've tuly come into their own with this album.


Formed: May, 2004 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The sultry neo-psychedelic sound of the Black Angels came together in spring 2004. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they initially comprised Stephanie Bailey (drums), Christian Bland (guitar), Alex Maas (vocals), Jennifer Raines (organ), and Nathan Ryan (bass), and took their name from a Velvet Underground classic, "The Black Angel's Death Song." The band's self-titled debut EP was released in late 2005. After a string of North American dates in winter 2006, they readied themselves for a performance at...
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