Album Review: Pale Angels – Imaginary People

Pale Angels are a band full of focus, purpose and direction and it is this ethos that is most evident on the transatlantic grunge punk’s new second LP ‘Imaginary People’

Those already familiar with Pale Angels and their vocalist and bass player, former Arteries’ member Jamie Morrison, will know that what is particularly remarkable about this latest output is that the band’s members are split across Wales and the US. Consequently ‘Imaginery People’ was written and recorded in a total of around 16 days inbetween tours and clocking-up countless air miles in the process.

The record itself is direct, to the point and full of energy. Firmly wearing their early 90’s grunge influence on their sleeves, ‘Imaginary People’ very much sounds (as the band themselves have described it) as a release from the frustrations and burnouts associated with relentless touring. Frankly it’s of no surprise that this effort has been picked up and released in the USA by Recess Records, a label owned and managed by Todd Congelliere from the bands FYP and Toys That Kill, two outfits that don’t sound too dissimilar to Pale Angels’ latest output at all.

Pigeonholing Pale Angels simply as a “grunge-outfit” however would do them a gross disservice. Often the songs display great pop-sensibilities in terms of melody and structure, something particularly clear on tracks like ‘Wild Vile Flesh’, ‘If Only You’re Gone’ and lead single ‘Ditch Digger’. And in any event Pale Angels often throw in some good old rock ‘n’ roll vibes, as shown on opener ‘Lapin, Lapin’ and one of the picks of the album ‘Sinking Shadows’.

Simply put, fans will be eager to experience this collection of songs on the band’s April UK tour.

Speaking of which, raw live energy is often impossible to capture on record, but pleasingly this is not the case here. Under the watchful eye of Ben Greenberg at Vacation Island Studios in Brooklyn Pale Angels have captured their raw live energy perfectly. The inclusion of random drum hits and sounds of the band preparing occasionally in-between songs (and frankly the tone of the record as a whole) gives a fantastic live feel. Something which is often lost as technology improves and becomes more accessible, allowing even grass-roots bands to sound incredibly polished. Pale Angels buck that trend and this is a real treat.

There is no doubt that ‘Imaginary People’ will prove to be a timeless record and one that will be returned to time and time again; seriously, with each listen you can’t help but pick up new little nuances to fall in love with. This makes Pale Angel’s second album the complete package: great songwriting, raw energy and hidden gems. It’s hard to say for sure, but this could be an early contender for the top ten LPs of 2015 already.

4.5/5

‘Imaginary People’ by Pale Angels is released on 6th April on Specialist Subject / Recess Records.

Pale Angels links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Mark Bussey

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