[sic] Magazine

Angry Angles – Angry Angles

Back before Ty Garret Segall ruled all things guitar there was a fellow by the name of Jay “Reatard” Lindsey. Lindsey would sadly die young in 2010, formally passing on the mantle to the then still nascent force of Segall. Not that the two are identikit. Far from it, in fact. They’re not even from the same state and Lindsey was always the poppier of the pair, but back then if you wanted prolificacy and you wanted guitar you went Lindsey. Many still hold him in high regard as a result and Goner Records have spent the last nine months getting archival on the man’s work alongside Alix Brown as Angry Angles.

Spanning the all-too-brief two years of the band’s existence (2005-06), this S/T collection represents Lindsey and Brown’s complete studio recordings as Angry Angles, seventeen cuts that comprise all three of their EPs (one a split) and their two singles (again one a split), as well as five unreleased tracks. Angry Angles didn’t get the intended studio full-length it was due at the time thanks to Lindsey and Brown’s uncoupling around the time of his Blood Visions, an album that under Lindsey’s “Reatard” persona would come to overshadow anything else he would put his name(s) to it.

Whilst there are similarities between Angry Angles and Blood Visions, shared riffs and general scratch-pad ideas mostly, Angry Angles is different because of its reliance on Lindsey and Brown’s rudimentary guitar-and-drums set-up, but also, more specifically, because of Brown herself. Certainly no passenger, she contributes snotty vocals influenced by classic Girl Group harmonies on most tracks, responsible too for writing some of the best ones Angry Angles has to offer. There’s the serious crunch and power jangle of “Transparent”, the stomping beauty of “In My Room” – originally a split 7” with Digital Leather and the sort of post-punk-inflected pop riot you wish they’d play more often in your local flea-pit club – as well as “You Call It Love”, in which Lindsey and Brown’s slightly camp back-and-forth is reminiscent of Seth Bogart’s Hunx and His Punx, maybe even too of Tracy Lourdes and Sugar Fixx’s art-punk hoot Deep Throats.

Don’t be misled either by Angry Angles’ number of cover versions. They’re all excellent: a catchy as hell do-over of Wire’s “The 15th”; Devo’s “Blockhead” is given killer attitude as Brown duets with Lindsey’s sweet guitar action; and there’s a particularly blown-out stab at “Black Hole” by Urinals when most else on the album is rendered with decent fidelity; so too a previously unreleased trashabilly rework of Oblivians’ “Memphis Creep”, but Angry Angles is much more than the sum of these parts. Often, for example, such as on a track like “You Fell In”, they lay down the trashy, bubblegum punk template that Burger Records would make the most of starting 2007 and it’s this unhinged, dangerous garage-pop for which the band ought to be remembered.

To satisfy first wave fans, there are also two versions of the pretty great “Things Are Moving”, its many eviscerating hooks fuzzing both up around the edges. The pogoing 2005 single “Crowds”, which happens to hit like Thee Oh Sees, is still stand-out, too. On it, Lindsey’s whip-crack vocal snaps over churning guitar, stop-start riffs delivering one of the year’s tidiest sub-three-minute tunes on an album on which only two tracks break that barrier. Second in a six-song string of short blasters, “You Lied”, originally part of a split EP with Lindsey’s own outfit The Reatards, as well as with Tokyo Electron (with whom Lindsey played in their earlier days and whose Ryan Rousseau was instrumental in this retrospective, and who also now holds court in Destruction Unit) is Angry Angles’ fullest statement, the only track that noticeably incorporates extra players on bar-room piano and fun-time bass.

Grubbed out of the dirt, the remaining new tracks (“Can’t Do It Anymore”, “All The Same”) are predictably high-octane romps, delivered with the same impassioned urgency, Lindsey’s frenzied yelp on top of the usual tumble of riffs and hooks. The last of these new offerings, “Set In Stone”, however, is a more nuanced, mid-tempo rumbler in which coruscating fuzz both takes the sheen off Angry Angles’ highly likeable pop and is also used to build tension and effect quite deftly. Truth be told, sequenced last on the album it’s a pretty great sign-off from a pretty great band. RIP.

~Angry Angles is released May 27th 2016 via Goner Records.~