With song titles harkening images of blood-filled waterways, homicidal snipers and ghosts, The Black Angels' third album isn't keen on letting psychedelic rock fans slip gently into drug-addled dreamland. As the opening track indicates, these are bad vibrations indeed.
Not that that's necessarily a strike against Phosphene Dream. Sometimes a fella needs music that feels like wading waist-deep through engine sludge. And in that respect, the album delivers. Bass lines thump and buzz like your head after one too many whiskey sours underneath guitar fuzzy enough to warrant a shave and a haircut. Occasionally, the band lightens the sound with some almost Doors-esque keyboard work or a bubblier hook. Those moments are few in number, and the record is a more consistent experience for it.
The lyrics back up the heavy atmosphere with a generally dim outlook. Religious references are frequent but carry an air of hopeless futility. The end result would make for a good soundtrack inclusion in a David Lynch film or like stumbling through a dark room lit only by a pallid yellow glow.
The Black Angels plays the Badlander Friday, Dec. 3, at 9 PM. $12.