Black Angels
Directions to See a Ghost
(Suretone/Light in the Attic)


If you failed to pick up the Black Angels’ debut, you missed one of 2006’s better albums, said Katie Hasty in Billboard. While the band’s sophomore effort will be a “reminder of your mistake,” it’s also a chance to fix it. The Austin-based band puts on another grippingly dark performance on Directions to See a Ghost. The “ominous, churning guitars and moaning” percussion of opener “You on the Run” set a grim tone as the group begins to crank out “hazy,” trance-like rock ’n’ roll. The musicians’ technical prowess is never in doubt, but the “crescendos” in songs such as “Dee-Ree-Shee” confirm their “power to make great art as a group.” The overall sound is hardly original, said Erik Davis in Blender. Steeped in reverb and mesmerizing drone, all 11 tracks clearly borrow from the dark psychedelia of the 1960s. But the Black Angels make these influences their own, and rather than seeming like a “heavy trip,” Directions to See a Ghost sounds “urgent and altogether contemporary.” The Black Angels achieve the “hypno-drone ’n’ roll” they set out to make, said Dave Simpson in the London Guardian. But the “atmosphere of unmitigated menace” is occasionally unbearable. Sometimes you just wish they’d lighten up.