Angels of Light | Review | Peter Hepburn

the quiet beauty of closer 'Jackie's Spine' show Gira at perhaps his strongest

Dec 05

Angels of Light
Sing 'Other People'
(Young God)

In the wake of Akron/Family's stunning debut record earlier this year it was somewhat understandable that Michael Gira's newest Angels of Light album, the fantastic yet thoroughly challenging Sing 'Other People,' could get overlooked. It's a decidedly dark, complex record - the sort that takes all sort of attention and repeated listens to really appreciate. What's not understandable is that some nine months later people haven't started to take notice.

Gira was born with one of the most commanding voices out there. He manages to instill his gloomy, image-laden lyrics with a spiritual weight or at the very least a dark romanticism. With Akron/Family serving as his backing band, Gira builds up a musical backdrop that only furthers the effect. What results is really spectacular; while it may not have the playful experimentation of Akron/Family, it certainly has the song-writing chops down cold. Listening through, there's barely a bum song here, or at least not one without a seriously redeeming characteristic. 'On the Mountain' rises high with its charging refrain, the heavy religious overtones of 'Destroyer' send it over the top, and the quiet beauty of closer 'Jackie's Spine' show Gira at perhaps his strongest.

(One quick last note: While Akron/Family and Angels of Light's Split was by all means quite a nice little album, I can't help but point out that most critical coverage of the project criminally overlooked Gira's contributions. While Akron/Family did indeed have a couple of nice songs and did a nice job of recycling classic rock riffs for the indie kids, two Angels of Light songs stood above all others: 'The Provider' and 'Come For My Woman.' For those of us who prefer a well-constructed song to a sprawling guitar solo this stuff is solid gold, and just goes to show again how impressive a songwriter and performer Gira is.)