Review: Pale Angels- Imaginary People (Specialist Subject)

Posted: April 28, 2015 in Reviews

Imaginary People cover art

Imaginary People, the second full length from Transcontinental band Pale Angels, is decent, but hit-and-miss overall. It leans more towards hit, but there is enough ‘miss’ to frustrate. If you may recall, I reviewed their most recent 7” Strange Powers last year and mostly loved its scuzzy, live-recorded garage-punk fuzz-out. Now, while that clearly had an alt-‘90s influence, Imaginary People turns that into a full-on homage. The record may as well be wearing baggy jeans and a Butthead and Beavis t-shirt! I’m mostly saying this tongue-in-cheek, as I love plenty from that area which is evident in this album: particularly Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Mudhoney.

Having said all that, lets talk about the good things! The intense, faster-paced tracks are the best ones, where the fuzzy, swirling, distorted guitars and J Mascis-like vocals really shine. The double-hit of “Wild Vile Flesh”, probably the hookiest and most melodically driven track on Imaginary People, and the shout-y, intense distorted party that is “Ditch Digger”, is my personal highlight of the record. Pale Angels are at their best when they delicately mix gritty punk and fuzzy, underground garage punk with ‘90s alt; to be fair, this mostly works, but sometimes they step a little too far into ‘90s Seattle. The two closing tracks, “Dreamer” and “All Her Clothes” are both over six minutes long and do little in their droney-ness and fuzz to justify that time-length. Meanwhile, acoustic, indie jangler “Schizophrenic” recalls the tedium of Britpop, evidencing that the lead vocals of Mike Santostefano (formerly of Crimes and Static Radio NJ) work best with intensity and high-tempo. I imagine this would be a hell of a live band to see.

Check it out here: http://specialistsubject.bandcamp.com/album/imaginary-people

DB

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