Whatzup
Faster Than Angels Fly
The Swingin’ Angels

by DMJ
Faster Than Angels Fly

The Swingin’ Angels

Faster Than Angels Fly

Something funny happened to A. Blowers (a.k.a Matt Weirick) and his crew between the basement and the bar gigs over the course of the past year or so: The Swingin’ Angels, stalwart garage-a-billy rockers extraordinaire, took a little time in the studio to craft an album that’s as power-poppin’ and coated in lonely country road dust as it is pub-shakin’. In fact, those expecting a raucous rockabilly rave-up might be thrown initially upon inserting the consistently well executed Faster Than Angels Fly into their CD contraptions. The first cut, “Whole Lot Better,” comes at you in full-blown a capella mode, bridging the gap between O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? and the Mekons. Soon enough, though, the dirty/twangy guitars and loping drums kick in, imparting a kind of spooky musical cautionary tale atmosphere, like a Cramps tune done straight-on. Of course, when you hear the pedal steel-enhanced chorus (complete with ragged-but-right vocal harmonies) you’re back in Swingin’ Angels prime territory: a little bit of Stones strut, a touch of Louie Louie, unerring classic tunefulness, plenty of pluck and miles of, yep, swing.

Next up comes the downright optimistic “Something Comin’,” complemented by a jaunty rhythm and bouncy electric guitars. Weirick’s cool-in-his-own-skin vocals and the overall punch of the track bring to mind some of the more pop-friendly Frank Black and the Catholics moments.

If you’re looking for some “classic” Angels moments, try the speedy title track. It rolls and rumbles past with equal parts Reverend Horton Heat velocity and heartfelt gospel fervor. After a similarly paced “Just Gotta Rocket” and a romp through the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “My Gal” (featuring lead vox by drummer Kyle Stevenson), the tempo and mood come down for “Thought the Dog,” a country-fried, Stones-y ballad. “Janet Painted Flowers,” with its smoky surf-guitar inflections and dark overtones, is just about as far away from good-timey barroom rock as it gets, making for a definite highlight.

The Swingin’ Angels’ ability to flit between country (“Enough for Me,” “Pick Out The Stone”), Glimmer Twins-style R&B (“Lord Gave Me a Hole”) and the uptempo thang they’re best known for (“Lucy,” “Just Gotta Rocket”) makes Faster Than Angels Fly a well paced and interesting listen all the way through. Plus, it was recorded in glorious analog (locally, at Off the Cuff Studios). That’s a divine combination in my book. Head over to www.myspace.com/swinginangels for further details. (D.M. Jones)

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