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

San Angelus

San Angelus: Soon We'll All Be Ghosts

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 √?GES 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 uu√?uu on √?GES' 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.