To love a guitar is to love a constant, unyielding temptation. Even now as I write this review, trying my best to concentrate, my sleek electric goddess beckons me. "Take me in your hands and make me scream," it pleads. It takes every ounce of character within me to resist and continue with this important work. Many times I am weak, and I give in. But today I heroically press on because I feel I owe it to you; the bored temp at work. You must be informed of the mutual love I share with the Black Angels. I feel I owe it to them as well. I want them to know I understand and to support them as they deal with their own temptation. Some songs have natural endings you see right away, while others beg on bended knee to have their riffs played and played and played and PLAYED, unwilling to relent before blood drips onto the strings. There's just no way for the Angels to get these songs out without riffing the hell out of them, and that's great. For all their dark, moody, atmospheric musicianship, there is less separating these guys from AC/DC than they'd care to know.
While this may feel a little familiar from their last release, Directions To See A Ghost is no less exciting due mostly to the group's love of playing. Oh, sure, on the surface they sound like they've mixed in a weird equation of musical mathematics (take the Cure guitars + "House of the Rising Sun," add the sum to 1/4 Velvet Underground - Lou Reed, all multiplied by dark t-shirts), but deep down they love the rock and that's what gives them their power. The indulgences of guitar rock appear on this album at moments when it's the only thing called for; after the bridge on "Never/Ever;" throughout most of "The Return" and "Mission District;" The boom-boom beat carries us through even when they try to lose us, as with the 16 minutes of "Snake in the Grass." Even in music, experiments often lead back to familiar territory, but that's not the experimenter's fault. That's science. Directions To See A Ghost feels like eavesdropping on an hour-long experiment headed by a group of very excited guitar scientists.