Monday, February 18, 2008

The Angels (Angel City) - Dark Room

 Dark Room
Previously, we'd already posted on these hallowed pages a review of The Angels Face to Face, a devastatingly powerful album that married the passion and intensity of the Sex Pistols with the rock and roll riffs of AC/DC. In truth, it's difficult to tell which is the quintessential Angels album, their first American release Face to Face or their follow-up Dark Room. The Australian version of Face spent an unprecedented 77 weeks on the Aussie charts, and Dark Room followed it by immediately going platinum. In America, however, The Angels still struggled to find an audience. The problem was no one knew how to classify the band. Too punk for heavy metal, they were too rock for punk and too heavy for new wave. As singer Doc Neeson put it. "Punk. Heavy metal. New Wave. We're a rock and roll band. Those other words confuse me."

Indeed, The Angels were a rock and roll band, and Dark Room, rocks in fine form. Like Face to Face, Dark Room has the same propulsive rhythms, manic vocals and contains its own classic of Orwellian paranoia, "Face the Day." Again, Neeson's voice is barely contained within the structure of the songs and the Brewster bros blast out one mighty riff after another.

Dark Room contained the Angels first #1 hit with "No Secrets" (although "Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again" was a monster hit down under.) As the first sounds you hear when the CD spins, "No Secrets," kicks off the affair with a stuttering riff that builds in intensity until Doc Neeson's twisted vocals sneer on top of the pounding bass. "Wasted Sleepless Nights," begins with a dirge-like Velvet Underground bass line, gradually building momentum until the guitar slashes in, Neeson's vocals building in mania until he screeches across the chorus. Absolutely, vintage Angels. "Night Comes Early," and "Devil's Gate," follow form, just balls-out rock and rollers in serious need of a thorazine injection.

But, without a doubt, the highlight of the album is "Face the Day," a perfect vehicle for Doc Neeson's brand of mental illness. Forget the Great White embarrassing bastardization, no one could do justice to this amazing declaration of schizophrenic paranoia other than Neeson. Check out the video down below. The mania in Neeson's eyes is real, my friends. Let's face it, he wasn't nicknamed the Mad Irishman for nothing.

But truth be told, which one of us hasn't at one time just wanted to pound the fuck out of the alarm clock, hide our heads under our pillows and just wish the day would go on with out us. Or as our Mad Master of Ceremonies declares: "Long night leaves me stranded/black vision, danger sign/no love need protection/feels like I'm on production line/daggers of dawn/cold hearted day/why does it have to be morning?/cover my head/stay in bed/too late for luckless warning/I don't want to face the day."
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

I once wrote a short story, interspersing the lyrics of "Face the Day" with images of a sermonizing Jimmy Swaggart and images of flight attendants pointing out the way to the emergency exits. Well, it made sense at the time.

Anyways, as always, the band is incredibly tight behinds Neeson's mad vocals, riffs executed to perfection, the rhythm section endlessly flawless, as they propel the songs forward, ever fricking forward. The arrangements on Dark Room are more complex than Face To Face, with more variation of tempo within the songs, rather than the straight ahead blues-busting riffs. "Poor Baby" is catapulted into the stratosphere with a grinding prototypical Angels riff while "Alexander" would sit comfortably on any AC/DC album with the exception of the lyrics ,which are far too intelligent for Bon Scott to master.

The Angels are a true treasure of straight-out raucous rock and roll that somehow got lost on the sanitized American shores. Thankfully, those brilliant Aussies knew what they had, and the Angels enjoyed a huge measure of success there. More Angels albums will probably make there way onto these review pages in the future. Two Minute Warning is an exceptionally brutal outing for the lads. But in the meantime, run, don't walk to the local CD shop, jump online over to CD Baby or Amazon and do yourself a favor, pick up Dark Room and revel in the shear insanity of the Angels creation.

Mental illness never sounded so good.-Racer
Buy here: Darkroom



39 comments:

Lizelle said...

Saw your looking for new artists...check this Parisian band out...The Dø
www.stereocupcake.com

Anonymous said...

Angel City F**kin Amazing!

Anonymous said...

This is a great record!
While it shipped platiumn in Australia something tells me getting kicked off the Kinks tour just before a Madison Square Gardens showcase didn't help this great hard rockin band break America. Although it should be noted in some regions like NW US & Canada they played sellout headline shows to big audiences. They are one of the forgotten cult popular 80's AOR FM bands. Guns n Roses once joined Angel City for a special jam session at the at the Whiskey in Hollywood. They are cited as a major influence on early GnR. Also you will note an AC/DC influence hardly suprising as they toured Australia together in the old days and were apprently 'discovered' by the late Bon Scott and Malcolm Young, later sharing the same label and producers. But the thing that set this band apart was the driving blues/punk influenced guitars and paranoid lyrics.The closest band currently in my opinion is Green Day sound and look wise. Infact Green Day should consider doing a cover of Take A Long Line from Face to Face. Anyone who owns Angel City or as they are better known The Angels know this band should now in 2010 be as big as AC/DC.

Anonymous said...

Wow what can you say. How interesting are the lyrics? Came across Angel City in the 1980's and always wondered why they were not bigger all over in the world. Darkroom was very popular in Seattle. They played sell out shows to big crowds.Many of the next wave of hard rock bands were clearly influenced by them.

If you go to the Portland FM station KGON website (look in audio vaults) you will hear an interview and rare live versions of Face the Day & No Secrets during the 1980 US Tour for Darkroom. In that interview we are told they are playing two sold out shows at the Paramount Theatre the next day.

30 years later I still play this record almost everyday. It is that good!

And my friends in Australia tell to this day (2010) the band with all orginal members still tour the cities of Australia on a regular basis to many fans. Angel City (or The Angels as they are known in Australia) are true rock legends.

Anonymous said...

If you liked darkroom check out the hard to find Skin n Bone or the excellent Liveline. Or search YouTube under The Angels lots of great videos.

Anonymous said...

No Secrets, Devils Gate & of course Face the Day.But it soley depended where you lived if it ever saw the light of day on radio or TV. Which is a shame as the the two clips on youtube for No Secrets & Face the Day communicate this bands on the world V effectively. Huge in some areas totally un heard of in others. I heard Areosmith rated this band and the Darkroom record highly. Also Cheap Trick did a few tours with Angel City around Darkroom eventually supporting them in Australia where Angel City's 1990 Beyond Salvation shipped Quad Platinum.
Uk metal magazine Kerrang once did a review of the most deserving bands never to crack it big in the 1980's. Angel City aka The Angels were at number 1! It would be interesting to talk to the people at Epic trying to break this band in the early 80's and MCA who also gave it a crack in 1985 with the beast of a record ?

The Ripple Effect said...

Gotta say, the response to our Angels (Angel City) posts has far surpassed my expectations. I'm jazzed that so many people remember the band so fondly.

I also gotta say, that this may be the first time that a review has been requested for Night Attack, Two Minute Warning and Live Line. I happen to think that Two Minute Warning destroys just about everything else out there. So nasty and violent.

So as soon as I get caught up with other Ripple stuff, I promise I'll get a Two Minute Warning review published. Night Attack to follow.

Then more . . . . if you want.

Thanks so much for reading us.

peace,

Anonymous said...

Memories! Dusted off the collection and found darkroom , two minute warning ,faceto face awesome!!!!!!! What happened to these guys?

Anonymous said...

The other ac/dc!

Anonymous said...

The Angels Never got the credit they deserved . The have a site www.theangels.com.au outstanding rock band.

Anonymous said...

Here a Link to a great interview plus rare live tracks from KGON FM Seattle during the 1980 Angel City US Darkroom Tour
http://www2.kgon.com/listen/tag/Angel+City

Anonymous said...

I don't think Angel City were that good. Bu Face to Face is cool

Anonymous said...

Having a beer and on Youtube, No Secrets what a great tune. The Angels , Angel City or what ever you want to call them are the real deal , F*** I love them!

Anonymous said...

Airbourne another great Aussie rock band worship this band. Although Airbourne sound more like AC/DC lyric wise less like The Angels.

Anonymous said...

Can't find the TMW review?

Anonymous said...

Darkroom was a great record. Many very good songs inc Devils Gate, Face the Day, No Secrets.
Just went to www.theAngels.com.au offical website and came across the 30th anniversary Darkroom tour in Sydney Australia. Seems one of the FM stations and cable TV channels is doing some sort of promotion in October. It states they will play the whole Darkroom record back to back -something they have never done. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Darkroom 30th anniversay tour downunder. Going to be fantastic-playing every song of this great record.
Only wish they were coming to my city!!! Check it out www.theangels.com.au

Anonymous said...

Darkroom 30th anniversay tour downunder. Going to be fantastic-playing every song of this great record.
Only wish they were coming to my city!!! Check it out www.theangels.com.au

Anonymous said...

Best rock band in the world to sing along with a beer in hand.

Darkroom's No Secret's a song about a woman named Amanda who knows what she needs & how too get it.
Face the Day a song about your everyday wage slave on a Monday morning after a bender.
Devils Gate a sad reminder the we are only on this planet for a short time.
So make the F**kin most of it!

Anonymous said...

cool band , wrong place wrong time. I heard Motley Crue, Guns n Roses , LA Guns, Great White & The Melvins all covered Angel City songs. It has been said Angel City will do a small US tour in 2011.

Anonymous said...

they sounded a little like AC/DC crossed with the Pistols. Music is a fickle game but thats fashion & fame.

The Ripple Effect said...

In the three years we've been ripplin', we've received more comments about this band (this post and the Face to Face post . . . go check it out) than any other band.

And I love it!

I'll champion The Angels to anyone who'll listen.

Thanks to your requests, we've got lots more Angels coming. I got reviews of Night Attack, Liveline, and Two Minute Warning coming. Plus I've picked up some great rarities on vinyl, singles, live ep's etc.

Someone get me in touch with the band. Love to interview them!

AC/DC meets the Pistols indeed.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog on the Angels. As a matter of fact I am going to the Darkroom 30th anniversary tour in Melbourne later this month as they are my favourite band ever. It will be absolutely packed and a lot booze gets drunk at Angels gigs.

It's a great idea to interview the band as they are all orginal members again. They are Australia's Aerosmith.

I got this off their website theangels.com.au
Publicity
Cat Swinton
Catalyst PR
catswinton@bigpond.com
Mobile: 0411333190
PO Box 1127
Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Australia

Anonymous said...

devils gate 5* not many hard rock bands ever have a harp solo

Anonymous said...

Angel City and the single No Secrets got a lot of play around Boston back in the day. i became a fan.

Why MCA signed them from Epic for Two Minute Warning was probably to do with the strong regional FM radio and concert support they had at one time (early 80's) in the US. I heard MCA wanted another heavy follow up for TMW but Angel City delivered We Gotta get out of this place and Nature of the Beast with a more pop direction. (by the way this went platinum in Australia shortly after never to be released in the US).

Although for the trivia buffs strangley a live version of Standing over You ended up on Nightmare on Elm street 3 or 4 soundtrack in the US.

The TMW tour was bankrolled by the money they made as The Angels in Australia. Meaning the band had to tour non stop in Australia the year after the US tour to pay back a half a million dollars back in 1985/6. A lot of money back then.

Icing on the cake was a clean out at record company MCA. Remember MCA hit huge finiancal troubles at this time, before going broke.

Personally as good as Angel City were with records like Darkroom, Face to Face, Night Attack and Two Minute Warning I think it was amazing they got as far as they did with what appeared limited support. They should have been huge everywhere.

I remember reading in about 88/89 Guns n Roses were fans and the manager of the Gunners at this time signed them. They delivered the ultra rare Beyond Salavation record for Chryslais US. The intention was to get them to tour as support for Guns n Roses but with the delay of Use You Illusion it never happened.

But one last bit of trivia was when GnR's was at it's absolute peak Axl, Slash and Duff joined what was now known as the The Angels from Angel City on stage at the Whiskey in Hollywood for a jam in 89/90 playing a few songs including Face the Day, Marseilles & Take long Line. A picture was floating around at the time also had Doc Neeson, Axl Rose and Angry Anderson singing away. I bet the after party was one hell of a night!

Anonymous said...

To Mr Trivia from Boston -the Angels did support Guns n Roses in a one off show in Sydney in 1988. Tickets were selling slow so GnR had the Angels support them.
Some trivia for you did you know Rick Brewster the Angels lead guitarist guested on Great White Psycho City?

Anonymous said...

Got tickets see them in 3 sleeps time on the Darkroom 30 Years since release tour.Can't wait. It will be loud.

Anonymous said...

Just back from The Angels Darkroom 30th Anniversary gig in Melbourne. I'm obviously a fan so I loved it. Some of the crowd looked a little confused as they played fans fans songs and also by the slightly darker somber Darkroom tones.I recently saw the same thing at a Metallica gig when they played Am I Evil?

Songs the crowd loved in order were Marseilles, No Secrets, Devils Gate, Face the Day, Take A Long Line, After the Rain, Shadow Boxer & crowd fav Am I ever Gonna See Your Face Again?
Great music-still packing crowds in.

And to the blonde , tanned, sexy girl who gave me a pinch on the bum, anytime any place?

Anonymous said...

More a Night Attack and Two Minute Warning fan myself.Darkroom was bit light on for me. Could never understand why they weren't huge.

Anonymous said...

Darkroom had a few good songs but didn't was not as heavy Face to Face or Night Attack. Interesting just read the guitarist from Pearl Jam said he preferred Angels to AC/Dc and wants Pearl Jam to play No Secrets (off Darkroom) Live. So what do I know?

Anonymous said...

Angel City never got the big tour to support on. The expectation was they were going to follow AC/DC. A friend told me in Denver last year they came accross as a little superior to US tastes. Where as AC/DC was street dirty.
If No Secrets off Dark Room had been a US hit which Epic hoped Angel City would have been huge.Apprently No Secrets made top 10 in the wrong cities,Seattle for example. Not LA on New York. Why?? we will never know.

Anonymous said...

Doc Neeson's Angels just announced as Motley Crue support on Australian tour. Politics at work bet the Brewster brothers are fuming.

Anonymous said...

No surprise Nikki Sixx is a fan. But what is a surprise is after the reunion the old wounds between the Brewster brothers and singer Doc Neeson have once again been sliced wide open. You are right I'm sure they are furious Motley gave Doc the call and Doc wheels out his other band. Doc will sell a few tickets for great tour with Motley Crue and Brett Michaels.

Anonymous said...

Night attack had a couple of cool tunes

Anonymous said...

Dude where the Angel City Night Attack or Two Minute Warning review?

Anonymous said...

Found this on YouTube The Angels still rocking Downunder with this recent live version of Face the Day (you know the song Great White also did it)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgWoHjJU3MA&feature=related

Anonymous said...

What a band. What a record Darkroom and Face to Face were. Some of the best guitar riffs and solo's you would ever hear.

Anonymous said...

What a band. What a record Darkroom and Face to Face were. Some of the best guitar riffs and solo's you would ever hear.

Anonymous said...

Sad news for fans of this band. Doc Neeson, lead singer of The Angels, passed away Wednesday morning after a battle with cancer.

RIP Doc, thanks for the memories.

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