In 1971 Gene Wilder poignantly reflected, “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.”
Over sixteen years and five previous full-length albums The Black Angels have established a formidable sound and style, garnering a strong and spanning following. Whether it is the concept of, or the door into, I’m not sure, but The Black Angels have peered into the abyss of pure imagination, funneled it through their psych-rock desires, molded it to their whim, and projected it into Wilderness of Mirrors, the first record in five years.
In the past The Black Angels have, at times, felt like if Jim Morrison were at the creative helm of Led Zepplin IV, a vast cerebral rock drive blending the psych depths of an abstract American poet. Wilderness of Mirrors ascends past previous incarnations to a cruising altitude above the sprawling plains and plateaus on wings of psych rock that seem to bend time and space itself like Willy Wonka in a tunnel on a boat full of an unsuspecting audience. Alex Maas (vocals/bass), Christian Bland (guitar), Stephanie Bailey (drums), Jake Garcia (guitars), Ramiro Verdooren (multi-instrumentalist) finely tune their craft to create what is quite possibly the longest fifteen tracks in recent memory. A hypnotic drifting array of psychedelic concoctions sparking ambiance without illusions of grandeur make up the vivid backdrops of the record, grab your attention, and implore you to surrender.
Wilderness of Mirrors should come with a road map so we know how to get back home. Getting lost in the walls of fuzzy distortion that is “History of the Future” or the dancing hypnosis of “Vermillion Eyes” is all too easy. The Black Angels cut out huge swaths of sound where each track flourishes in, at least, a three-and-a-half-minute existence; only four tracks coming in under that mark. Feeling as though the Austin band has one foot planted on the Texas plains and the other on some astral plane we can only access with a key. That key being their latest record.
Delicious licks, heavy drifting hooks, and dreamscapes for days shape the modern psych rock marvel that is Wilderness of Mirrors. Packed with seemingly unadulterated imagination, The Black Angels are living in a world their own. Inviting us to join them, Wilderness of Mirrors is set to drop September 16 on Partisan Records.