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Black Angels

Passover (Light in the Attic)

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With all the Brian Jonestown mass o' curs barking at the door, getting psyched about a psych-rock band is a task, mainly because most of those swirlers basically turn the reverb button to "obvious" and pretend they're not jam bands.

Instead, try tripping to the Austin, Texas combo Black Angels. Singer-guitarist Christian Bland's nasal, searing whine grabs the reins of their crushed-velvet pounding and twists them into a fury. More menacing than most of their contemporaries -- "Young Men Dead" stomps like an alligator, "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven" coils like a cobra -- and more raw, they keep the recording bare and the lyrics clear of secretly hippie-dippy sentiments.

Aside from the fact that their bassist was born on a cult compound, the Angels' mad cred derives from cortex-cutting fuzz-riffs. Where others pad the end of their CDs with filler workouts, the Angels gain steam with a sound that winds out like some of the most desperate gutter hallucinogens since early Spacemen 3. While still genre-gripped, Passover is nonetheless a brawny debut.

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