Angels of Light, Everything Is Good Here / Please Come Home

Philip Sherburne

By Philip Sherburne

on 11.27.11 in Reviews

The Angels of Light were never polite, but their first two albums were nevertheless marked by restraint. Not so number three, a wild, flailing monster that pursues its folk interests deep into the ragged heart of what Robert Christgau called the “old, weird America.” From the outset, the organs and guitars of “Palisades” suggest a subtly more psychedelic dimension, and that shimmering dissonance grows across the St. Vitus dance of “All Souls’ Rising” and the harried call-and-response of “Nations.” Banjos strum, harmonicas wail, and fiddles saw chillingly through the meat and bones of the music; it is among the most unhinged of all Michael Gira’s records.

A wild, flailing monster

Upon its release, Gira, sounding too wound-up for niceties like punctuation, recalled, “It started innocently enough with the intent of being a simple collection of well-written songs performed by the musicians who played them live for the last few years with the addition of a few acoustic songs lightly colored. Instead as things often seem to go around here I ended up saturating every available molecule of the recording tape with sound then hacked cut poured sonic fertilizer/salt on the resultant wounds and it finally metastasized into this raging/weeping BEAST which in the end succeeded in slowly biting off my head leaving this album behind as evidence.” Somewhat paradoxically, then, the album also shows the Angels of Light fully in their comfort zone – nesting in the root notes like fat sparrows before whipping up to ringing open fifths as though feeding from the eaves, then darting back to shelter once more.