Recorded in 1987 and 1988 but not released until 1991, this six-song 7" EP gives a rather skewed impression of this semi-legendary Raleigh-Durham outfit. By front-loading the disc with the half-rapped "Response" and the standard indie rock of "The Charm," it makes the Angels of Epistemology sound like just another underground band of the pre-Nevermind '80s. It's not until the middle tracks, the fake-worldbeat instrumentals "Carmen Miranda, at Least" and "Angels Death Song," that the Angels' true weirdness comes through. Armed with zither, balalaika, mandolin, and other oddball stringed instruments, the Angels make an unholy racket that sounds rather like an Eastern European wedding band under the influence of both the Ramones and amphetamines. The Beefheart-like "Torta de los Muertos" is even stranger, although not as immediately appealing. Unfortunately, the closing "Vile and Disgusting/William Campbell" blows all the credibility of the preceding three tracks, especially in the pointless screamed rant (by either Sara or Claire, one of the two female members of the first-names-only band) that closes the record. The Angels of Epistemology's full-length CD, 1995's Fruit, does not include "Response," "The Charm," or "Vile and Disgusting/William Campbell." This EP gets extra coolness points for its cute re-creation of the sleeve of ABBA's Greatest Hits.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason