Looking back at The Black Angels' 13-year career, it's a wonder it took the group so long to name an album Death Song. The Austin-based collective originally took its name from The Velvet Underground classic "The Black Angel's Death Song," as befits its dark, droning take on hard-edged psychedelia. The Black Angels' Death Song, however, is far from some kind of VU tribute. While continuing to evolve the seething, hypnotic tradition laid down by Lou Reed, John Cale, and company in the 1960s, The Black Angels have delivered an enormous and frighteningly timely fifth album full of uniquely trippy anthems to oblivion.
The opening tom hits and fuzzbox riffs that start Indigo Meadow give the indication that this is yet another turn on the Black Angels' merry-go-round of stoner rock and neo-psychedelia. However, the third song, "Don't Play with Guns," takes a decided turn with its big pop single hook, and the follow-ups "Holland" and "The Day" follow suit, as songs that are more carefully structured than the usual two-chord repetition that we've grown to expect. Not that there's anything wrong with the sound of bands like Spacemen 3 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but after several albums based on repetition, this is a pleasant, unexpected change for the Austinites.
In the wake of the 2007 album titled "Rachel", Echoes comes back with "The Black Cat's Step", published in the year 2011 on the Musea Parallele label. The quartet from Rouen, France, strikes an acid and psychedelic rock, in which insistent guitar riffs filled with reverberation, and potent ambiance of Hammond organ melt down into a hypnotic trance, sprinkled with vocal arrangements that remain the band's personal signature. The band brings a French touch to the psychedelic temple that is being constructed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, with bands like The Black Angels or Sleepy Sun, and immerses us in the delightful sounds of its glorious elders, from The Velvet Underground to King Crimson, from Syd Barrett to The Doors. If you fancy saturated atmospheres and shamanic inspirations, depart with Echoes in the footsteps of the dark feline.