Angel'in Heavy Syrup

Angel'in Heavy Syrup III

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A shimmeringly lovely piece of Japanese neo-psychedelia, the third album by the all-female quartet Angel'in Heavy Syrup is as delicate and insubstantial as music can get before it tips over into formless ambient waves of sound. Although these lengthy pieces have extended instrumental passages, all of the music sounds composed in a traditional sense. There's little if any improvisation here. The 11-minute opening track, "Breath of Life," is like classic Can in its organic-feeling ebb and flow, before it finally explodes into an almost Hendrix-like solo by lead guitarist Mine Nakao toward the end. That outburst and the swirling, wah-wah-enhanced "Bokudake-ga" are about as heavy as this album gets, but even the latter song has a lightness of feel that makes it skip and twirl where other bands would simply lumber. The rest of the album is considerably more fragile-sounding, with bassist Mineko Itakura's wispy vocals floating over an ether of guitar noise and gentle percussion, like My Bloody Valentine playing in a room next door to a sleeping infant. Even "Water Mind," which features drummer Tomoko Takahara doubling on fusiony flute and works up a supple groove akin to some of Gong's jazzier moments, remains sweetly graceful. The American edition of Angel'in Heavy Syrup III includes an eight-minute bonus track, "Introduction I: Naked Sky High," taken from the previous Japan-only release Angel'in Heavy Syrup II.

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