Angels of Light – The Angels of Light Sing ‘Other People’ / 2005 Young God / 12 Tracks / http://www.younggodrecords.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 28 January 2005
Each time I review a disc, it gives me a little more information about some facet of life which I had not known before the review. This time, I realized that I was listening to the former leader of the Swans. After having mouth agape at the disc, I decided to forge on and was met with another shock – this music is some of the hardest to categorize (pigeonhole), and for that, I thank Michael. Where a track comes out like “My Friend Thor”, seemingly dead-pan serious and straightforward, one just has to wait for the inevitable “gotcha!” – this time, a very Beach Boys-esque choir accompaniment. Angels of Light delve through all the different movements of American music and pick and choose on a track by track basis. What results is an incredibly diverse album that is truly experimentative in its designs. Where a track like “On the Mountain” can simultaneously tap the gospel and country elements of American music, Angels of Light do it in such a way that there is no doubt that someone from 2004 was doing patently 1920s and 1950s music.
Even recalling someone like Johnny Cash for “On the Mountain”, the myriad of souls that Michael allows to host in eir body is absurd – there is just not an individual alive that can construct tracks of such beauty without either experience or a past-life. It is absurd to talk like that, but I’m not the only one to talk like that. Michael eirself talks about “the creature that hovers behind [eir] head” in something as common as the promo sheet. “Destroyer” is another high-point during the disc, where Angels of Light puts on a country twang and gets a chorus to back eir up. This is not alternative music, this is not rock, but these are modern-day classics.
When Angels of Light do approach the current period, in tracks like (Dawn), they can create a track that immediately puts legions of bands and performers to shame. “Dawn” uses a Depeche Mode-style of vocal inflections with a mournal set of background harmonies and a short run-time to make the track that much more memorable. Angels of Light are mediums, and not like John Edward or that horrible network show – Michael can pull from the are a spirit and use eir own skills to put that spirit’s travails into song. This is not just an album, but a story, a movie, and above all, it is transcendent.
Top Tracks: My Sister Said, On the Mountain