Guitarist John McLean's Better Angels is certainly difficult to classify. Some pieces, such as "Ready for the War," come across as modern pop. Others are closer to the music of the Pat Metheny Group, while a few tunes are modernized swing standards including one of the strangest versions of "Airmail Special" one will ever hear. While there are some individual spots, the emphasis during most of the selections is on the haunting ensemble sound which features McLean's regular group plus guest violinist Karl Montzka and occasionally the mostly wordless voice of Grazyna Auguscik. The intriguing results are worth several listens; although unsettling at times, the music is fresh and new.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow