Under Review

The Beige

El Angel Exterminador (Independent)

Review By Slavko Bucifal

The first minute or so of the Beige’s second studio album is indicative of the kind of experience you might expect through this kind of musical journey; dark, mysterious, beautiful, rich and interesting. The Vancouver-based quintet combines poetry with an eclectic mix of atmospheric ambiance, alt-country and funk-infused jazz. While mostly organic, they slip the sounds of a distorted viola and the odd ambient synth monster here and there, just to further darken the mood. As the title of the album suggests, you are probably not going to cuddle with someone over this one, though it is the perfect backdrop to write an angry letter.

Props to the band for their metaphor comparing ancient Babylonian morality to the suburb city of Surrey in the track “King George” with lyrics such as “An eye’s an eye / A tooth’s a tooth / We lie all night / We sleep the truth.” The song “I Got a Job in the Belly of the Beast” is the perfect anthem for anyone who has ever sold their soul to make a dollar; it’s what everyone is so miserable about anyway, so we might as well tap our toes to the tremolo. “Different Roads” is a seven-minute epic that lulls the consciousness then wakens it with a catchy chorus. One obnoxious tune is “Underground is Waiting” which fails in its attempt at musical cleverness by trying to build lyrics exponentially over a looped motif. Barring that effort, the album is worth a listen for those who like to push the boundaries of their musical collections. From the streets of Surrey to the Fountain of Youth in “Ponce De Leon” (which sounds like someone may actually be dying at the fountain, Twin Peaks-style), El Angel Exterminador is far from beige as the darkened lyrics emulsify with the colorful array of instruments. Their website claims they are an atmospheric jazz-pop quintet—but take the pop out of the equation.