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- We Are Him by The Angels Of Light
9/10 Phil Staff review, 25 January 2010
About 18 months ago I was [was?] a completely unbearable person to know. Mainly [mainly?] cos all I'd do is bang on about The Angels of Light. All I wanted to listen to was The Angels of Light and I spent far too much of my time listening to their music with headphones on.
So with 'We Are Him' I was about as excited as I possibly could be about a new record. Maybe a new Shellac album could sway me away.... or them finding a whole brand new Nick Drake album which was recorded just after 'Five Leaves Left'. Hey you can dream...
So here is the lord Gira with the Angels 5th album and I'll start by saying it's a total work of genius. The opener 'Black River Song' is just about the finest Swans song they never wrote. It's fantastic.... enormous pounding drums, twinkles, very slight proggy guitar and then the vocals.... The power and intensity that Gira creates in his music through his voice is genuinely unlike anyone elses. After the opener the album draws you into what seems to be a much more gentle affair than his previous outings. At times it's very country influenced which I guess is a progression from 'Sing Other People' where the dabbling began. A lot of people struggle with his voice as it's just too depressing for some people. You'd be hard pushed to find someone with a deeper and more depressing tone. Still it works, and it's lightened somewhat by the backing music (played by Akron/Family) which is incredible. Bizarrely enough this is the lightest most happy sounding Angels album as well. Listen to 'Sunflower's Here To Stay' to here a man on the brink of happiness.
The song-writing is exemplary and for a guy in his 50s (I think) his writing gets better and better which really goes against the grain. Him and Tom Waits are the main 2 old guys in music still cutting it and making beautiful interesting leftfield music. After 2-3 listens the music gets under your skin and you're hooked. There's not many folks out there making music like this and they need to be rewarded. One of the years essential purchases I think...
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