Angel Brothers - Angel Brothers

Richard Wink 19/07/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

Dave and Keith Angel are supremely gifted musicians. They and a variety of guests splice together a splendid mix of Latin, Indian, Celtic and African influences. By crude definition this is what you would call World Music, and though that term in itself seems redundant in the multi cultural all-encompassing age. Angel Brothers ticks all the boxes, a hint of reggae here, folk violins there, one moment you are walking the streets of Mumbai, the next you are sampling the soundtrack of a ride through a North African market town.

Opener Tongues of Fire is free spirited, drifting over seven minutes from soft latin guitar to the greenery of Celtic folk. In a nutshell we begin how the record means to go on, a variety of interchanging influences that stick together like Velcro. On occasion Angel Brothers drifts along, tracks such as Django's Caravan remind me of the sort of music you usually hear in those hippie shops found down dark alleys that sell garish plastic bongs and tarot cards.

The brothers call this album “a soundtrack to a film of your imagination”, and at points the sound crosses Saharan plains and hikes through Tolkien forests, or perhaps they are taking inspiration from their home county Yorkshire, a Ted Hughes poem brought to life through music. Travel is the key to the album; the sounds are authentic because the musicians have been to where they originated from, absorbing and then replicating.

Using the vocals of Sandhya Sanjana and Guy Garvey sound-alike Mick Humphrey sparingly gives the album added gravitas, meaning every track they appear on feels special. Ultimately the strength of Angel Brothers is how they blend cultures, mixing influences to create something unique. At times these moments are majestic, Butlin's Lederhosen Fancy and Same Sky, Different Planet in particular are strikingly poignant.

There is however a dark cloud that hangs over this album, partly inspired by the recent death of their father Ivor Angel, but there is also a wider awareness of death, a sense of slowing down, perhaps the Brother's are pondering the end of careers, questioning their own mortality. Christ that's gloomy. I would like to apologize if I'm way off the mark making such dubious assumptions.

Creatively free, an album like this is not designed to headline sponsored festivals or shift units. Seldom does the album get boring, yet in terms of appeal it is an album that one can only really listen to when in a reflective mood. A decent album of limited appeal.

Angel Brothers Official Website