The Black Angels

Passover

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    7
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"Black Grease" says it all, blackly: Austin's Black Angels temper stoned Black Sabbath drone with Black Keys bluesy bombast, producing a sort of boozy psychedelic White Light/White Heat in the process. The aforementioned song takes the record's central aesthetic idea and spirals it out of control. The shamanistic lyrics here rise as a single mantra of "Kill, kill, kill, kill," and the filthy reverberating guitars are kept to an acidic simmer, all so that Passover's real focus -- that is, Stephanie Bailey's insidious percussion -- reaches a level of unconscious insistence that feels almost locomotive, tumbling over itself too fast to safely stop. Other tracks, like seething, stately "Empire," wear the band's Velvet Underground influence more proudly, keeping the drums at a steady patter and letting the guitars scramble like rats up a well. Passover is a reactionary record, trading in Vietnam imagery and tired Doors tropes in places as easily as it does stoopid-awesome stoner rock in others, but it seems a reaction of the very best kind -- that is, free of agenda, full of ideas, and fun.

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