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Black Angel Drifter Black Angel Drifter
Album: Black Angel Drifter
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

Right who are Black Angel Drifter, well the core of the outfit is Robert Jessett and Anne Gilpin of Morton Valence, they are aided by Alan Cook on pedel steel guitar, Valdimir Strkalj on bass, Stuart Jones guitar and finally Chudidhar Nukui on drums.

The album is the first and by all accounts will be the only release from the band and my oh my what and release. The opening track Skyline Change/Genders Blur sets the tone of the album perfectly, dark brooding and pulsating taking the listener to a foreboding place some where out beyond civilization where tumble weed rolls down the dust covered main street with gun slingers firing shots of distortion at each other.

From here you are then introduced to Black Eyed Susan which like the previous track is a dark tale of some ones daughter who lived on the edge of humanity. The song whip cracks its way through this sad tale of forgotten lives that inhabit the edges of humanity.

Up next is their version of the blues Sister Pain which takes the genre into new and darker realms, complete with gun shots and driving distortion that conjures up images of storm clouds rolling in from the prairie and climaxing in a thunderous down pour.

The Visit does lift the mood a little. Even though it stills sit in that netherworld between day and night and is not your average love song by any means. Up next is a cover of the a Bob Dylan song from the 1980's Man With A Long Black Coat. This offering takes the song down a gothic laden western road and has been released as a single. What an excellent selection for a single as it encapsulates everything that the band is about.

If I Could Start Over Again lifts the mood again slightly. Mind you the setting is as dark as the other tracks, it tells the story of a man reminiscing on his life from within a prison cell and as such is filled with melancholy and sadness. From the melancholy of the last track you are thrown into the hypnotic Trail Of Tears that seems the swirl around your head like a flock of starling coming into roost at dusk. Swirling and pulsating on the breeze as day passes into night then disappearing as the light finally fades into darkness.

Lead On Take It away keeps with the melancholy of previous tracks. The pedal guitar wails a sorrowful song that just oozes sadness and then comes the out of tune brass band that just adds to the whole feeling of depression.

The low hum of the organ and the relentless chirp of the crickets just add to the soul full dark vocals on Hymn Four creating a track full of darkness and sadness that together create for me the best track on the album. The final track 24'33" is by far and way the strangest on the album for a start it begins the nineteen minutes of crickets and nothing else and then comes the song itself which is some one reminiscing about there life and what is happening in it.

So how to sum things up. Well if like me you like the avant-garde and off the wall then this is definitely for you. It is one of the most refreshing releases that I have heard in a very long time. Yes it is dark, brooding and melancholic but that's what makes it so refreshing. It is the perfect antidote to all that upbeat formulaic music which fills the radio airwaves on a daily basis.

Simply put I love it.

Andy Chamberlain