Pale Angels - Strange Powers [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Pale Angels

Strange Powers [7-inch] (2014)

Specialist Subject Records

The Pale Angels are an American and British concoction consisting of members/ex—members of bands like Static Radio NJ, The Arteries and this time round The Cut Ups. I say ‘this time round' because on the band's debut album the band included the much revered and constantly busy Mikey Erg, but due to other commitments he wasn't available for this session so Reza Mirehsan of The Cut Ups sat in for him behind the drums.

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from The Pale Angels, but I wasn't expecting what came out of my speakers as the four tracks, recorded live in session, thrust themselves into my ears with a blaze of intent and a hint of nostalgia. To be honest I wouldn't have been shocked if I had actually got round to listening to the band's album Primal Play, also released by Specialist Subject, but I'll add that to my list of musical oversights, and one which has been remedied in much haste.

The aforementioned hint of nostalgia is built around the hugely fuzzed up, occasionally grunge like (I really detest the word ‘grunge' given its association with a genre that on the whole I found to be pretty dire) concoction that they deliver. At times it's manages to sneak in a psychedelic quality to it as well, in addition to elements that bring to mind more of a shoe—gazing leaning. Having now listened to Primal Play a few times, it's clear that The Pale Angels seem to be moving on from a sound even more drenched in the 1990's, with the newer tracks losing the Nirvana/Dinosaur Jr undertones and sounding more like recent bands such as the Shang—A—Lang, producing a more varied and enjoyable sound.

The four tracks include a rather nifty cover of The Feelies' "Crazy Rhythms" alongside three self—penned songs of which "La Esquina" is the most notable as it just basically rocks my world with its total sense of ebullience and abandonment.

The recording itself, part of a series of sessions by Amsterdam Recording Company, is of exceptional quality allowing each element of the band to shine without losing any of the inherent cohesion, and all done with a slightly muddied quality which provides some grit to proceedings.