It's not everyday a band can hand over a sophomore release without worrying about unmet expectations. For starters, Passover is arguably one of the most impressive debut albums of the 2000s, period. An album with such power and innovation at such an early point in a career could have easily meant unreachable expectations for future releases. Unlike many bands, the Black Angels found a way to avoid that 'sophomore slump' cliché with Directions to See a Ghost. If you've ever seen the band live, you'll know how much intensity they can create out of thin air. Directions completely captures that intensity, while moving in matured territories. Yes, Passover was charting waters 99% of modern bands don't bother to seek out, but this album does it all over again, taking even more risks at not just ear splittingly loud proportions, but with painstakingly passionate and innovative forces to boot.
To put it bluntly, Directions is the Brian Jonestown Massacre with balls. It's the electricity and magnitude of Velvet Underground live shows, Andy Warhol visual effects and all. Directions is the brains behind of any Warlocks release, but with the rawness, ingenuity, and aggressiveness original psychadelia and acid rock were all about. This is Krautrock with the levels maxed.
Though a few songs may sound like dead ringers for tracks off Passover (“You In Color,” “You on the Run”), the album rises above the charred remains of the world the Black Angels dropped its first bomb on and begs you to ask the question: how loud can my stereo get? With swirling vocals that would make My Bloody Valentine jealous (“Science Killer”), and sitar strumming that might get Anton Newcombe kicking in skulls (“Deer-Ree-Shee”), Directions to See Ghosts might just be the first enviable release of 2008. Not because you want, or need to buy it, but because more artists will want and need to sound like this.