San Angelus - Soon We'll All Be Ghosts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

San Angelus

Soon We'll All Be Ghosts (2013)

Amber & Wool

It seems fitting to submit this review for San Angelus' first full-length, Soon We'll All Be Ghosts, a couple months after its release. The album's been a long time in the works: These current and ex-members of Pelican, Shift, Undertow, Sparkmaker and ÆGES recorded Ghosts in August 2009 and September 2010; had it mastered in 2011; and finally issued it on compact disc in late 2013–as both a self-released, limited-to-100 version in a tin case with a 42-page booklet (which they sent in for review here) and a more widely distributed, simple "eco-package" variation. You think these guys were going to take four years to put out a first album only to throw it up as a pay-what-you-want download? Of course not. (But, regardless, they actually did do that at some point.)

Seems like a lot of fuss for a new and pretty unknown band, right? Well, the actual music's legit. Soon We'll All Be Ghosts is definitely of the late '90s "hardcore dudes playing rock" thing, and often well-done at that. Think bands like Handsome and Hum, playing that sort of riffy, kinda heavy rock with really tasteful, slight stylistic detours (crunchier guitars and more aggression on "Enslin"; a slight, humming space rock vibe on the fantastic, modest chorus for "Splitting Differences"; the squall and distortion-licked "Without You... (I Am Everything You Said I'd Never Be)"; a big thump for closer "Waiting for Accidents to Happen" that shows off their alumni's past and present). Hell, if it isn't '90s alt enough for you, they even transparently title a song "All Bets on the Slow Kid"–a buoyant deep cut that gives the second half a nice jolt of life–just to emphasize that they're not beneath a good ol' underdog anthem (to be sure, there's a metaphor in there anyway).

Surprisingly, San Angelus already have a followup definitively scheduled for release (an EP seriously titled uuÜuu on ÆGES' label, The Mylene Sheath, in March), but this is certainly worth checking out first as proper background. It's mostly simple, subtly varied, and maybe took a while to cook, but strangely refreshing given how little of this stuff seems to currently exist.

Check out Soon We'll All Be Ghosts by San Angelus here.