Saturday, September 15, 2012

I kinda hate myself for this....

I'm a pretty big obsessive over a few Australian bands from the early 1980's. See, I spent most of 1982 through 1985 living in places where American pop culture had less of a toehold than British, European and Australian pop culture did, and quite frankly, if you had to choose between Saxon and Rose Tattoo, or more starkly, between Dire Straits and the Angels, I sincerely hope you'd have chosen as I did, and gone almost entirely for the Australian side. This has led to some strange choices at times, but most of the time, if it comes from the Australian Pub/Punk/Rock/Metal type of music, it's right up my alley. In that vein, I cannot think of a single LP I like better than the Angels 1978 LP, "Face to Face". From "Straight Jacket" to "Comin Down" it's a damn near perfect LP. "The Angels", "No Exit", "Dark Room", "Night Attack", and "Two Minute Warning" were all varying shades of excellent, as well.
So, musically, I really want to like anything released as "The Angels". I heard about the falling out between Doc Neeson and the Brewsters, and while both sides have their points, I side a bit more with Doc. The kind of show he put on, I believe him when he says his body is broken, and he needed chemical help to ease the pain. At the same time, it wouldn't be the Angels without the melodies, and I'm sure Doc is a nutter, and I'm sure he's difficult to be around. So, I'm not entirely without sympathy for the Brewster side of the equation.
So, I shelled out large sums for the new LP ( in USD I paid $40.00) and I've listened to the whole thing a few times and, as much as it kills me to say it- the record blows. It's bad. It fails to entertain me.  I don't like it. It really hurts to say. I realize I should've known, but I honestly had hope. Dave Gleeson sings in a far more traditional rock voice, yes, but I don't want to put too much of it on that. The real problem is the whole band sounds tired, perfunctory, and like they are simply trying to cash in a cheque. They do fair number of covers, and bring little to the table on those. The re-do a track or two from their glory days and it's glaringly obvious that the spark is gone.
While I feel like I wasted my cash, that's not the worst part. The worst is this- you can literally hear the band digging their heels in. There will be no reunion any time soon. They won't be going back to what they excelled at, any time soon. That's utterly depressing because as far as I can tell Doc doesn't have all that long. The man really does seem to be broken in ways that will be hard to repair, and by the time he is repaired, there's very little chance of him being able to forget the bitterness enough to be a convincing performer- in other words the Angels that I loved are gone, and I really wish that I could love these new Angels, but I just don't.
I don't like putting negative reviews and notices on this blog, because life can suck enough without adding to it. However, I really do feel it's my duty to put this out there, so I can save other people from hearing this, and ruining the band for them. Yes, I know that may seem like a nasty thing to say, but I swear it's the truth. Avoid this, if you can.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you bought that Matt because it should come with a warning sticker: expect this record sill suck. I grew up with the Angels and I hate to say it but the last truly great album they released was a live record called Live Line in about 1987. The next record after that Beyond Salvation was ok but it's all diminishing returns after that. The whole thing about those bands was that the pub scene in Australia was so brutal that you had to be amazing live or you would literally get your arse kicked so first and foremost, they are formidable live acts and those early records reflect that killer live instinct. But much like AC/DC you can only go so far with boogie based rock and while I wouldn't hesitate to see them live with Doc fronting them, I'd be there for the classics, not the new stuff. The acrimony in the band has got a lot of press over here but as far as I'm concerned, no Doc, no Angels. Dave Gleeson was the lead singer of a cock rock band called the Screaming Jets in the early 90's - yeah, they sucked so I'm not surprised that you think this is rubbish. On behalf of Australia, I apologise for your dud purchase.

  2. Oh, yes, you are correct- though I'd say the downhill was already a premonition by Two Minute Warning, which was clearly marketed for American audiences, thus reducing the very things that made them great- Los Angeles, which was already becoming the Hard Rock/Metal capitol of the US at the time was built on the exact opposite- rather than trial by fire, it was about luxury and excess- rather than looking out for a pint being chucked for a head, they'd be looking into the audience for who'd get you a pint or give you head. So giving their sound a cock rock makeover was a sure sign that they really, really wanted to break the States, which is a big mistake, always.

  3. You're right. If you ever want some Angels stuff let me know and I'll hook you up, it's all in the bargain bins over here. Way cheaper than dealing with imports.

  4. Jonathan, how utterly humane of you! I have both the American ( "Angel City") and real versions of Face to Face, No Exit, Dark Room and Night Attack, not to mention a signed copy of Live Line. About the only one I've not secured in both Compact disc and Vinyl format is I cannot seem to find a CD of The Angels ( the self titled first LP). Honestly, I'm pretty set. However, as long as we're feeling the love- we're connected at Twitter, and Here, and you've got my email- one other venue if you'd like on facebook I'm at:

  5. Sorry, off the internet for a few days. I can definitely get the first album on cd - I saw it recently (the re-release but that'd probably be better than the first issue of the cd). Next time I'm out record shopping I'll see what I can do - there must be a vinyl version of it somewhere in Sydney. I'll be in contact when I get the goods.