Silence Is Better Than Nothing by Angle (Review)

The EP reveals a very solid framework that could yield some very impressive work in the (hopefully) near future.

I recently moved into a new house, a process which virtually guarantees rediscovering things you forgot you had. Such is the case with this disc. I received it quite some time ago, had listened to it quite a bit, planned on writing a review, lost it in the shuffle of CDs on my desk, forgot about it, and rediscovered it while boxing everything up. So here it is, a review that should’ve appeared, along with many others I’m sure, on the site many moons ago.

Combining standard rock instrumentation (guitars, drums) with glitch and laptop programming is nothing new, but Angle certainly do it as well as I’ve heard. The duo of Andrew Richards and Sylvain Closier (who began collaborating after meeting on the Internet) strike the right balance, with the real instrumentation giving the songs form and pushing them forward, while the electronic elements and programming flesh everything out with lovely textures and ambience.

On ​“Sugarhorse,” pulsing, lightly distorted rhythms twist and turn beneath layers of distant, gauzy guitar. Meanwhile, the vocals alternate between breathy sighs and an almost hip-hop delivery which actually works surprising well. ​“An Ambient Blackout” progresses along an almost downtempo track, partially reminiscent of some of Josh Haden’s recent work, though with richer vocals. ​“I’ll Never Let You Sleep” starts off with some of the EP’s sparsest work, a minimal-yet-lush number along the lines of Bows’ work, before radio samples, synth strings, and pulsating rhythms turn the song into something resembling a slow, restrained Faint song.

Speaking of Bows, it’s on the duo’s cover of The Pixies’ ​“Debaser” where Angle’s talents truly reveal themselves. Perhaps the finest thing Luke Sutherland never recorded (but probably wishes he did), the cover is far too short at only 1:50, and yet it’s full of the duo’s best work — chiming, swirling guitars, breathy male/​female vocals, and rhythms that just seem to keep picking up speed until the very end.

The EP winds down with ​“Silence Is Better Than Nothing,” a self-deprecating title to be sure. And yet genuine emotion floats through as the worldweary vocals plead ​“I can’t cry no matter how hard I try” over glassy tones and a shuffling drum loop, revealing that the duo should really give themselves a whole heckuva lot more credit than that.

All in all, a very respectable debut, and a good listen for those familiar with like-sounding artists such as Hood. At times, given the duo’s propensity for melding rock and electronica on tracks like ​“Debaser,” the CD almost feels almost sparse and underdeveloped, especially given the songs’ relatively short lengths. But the EP still reveals a very, very solid framework that, if developed and and built upon properly, could yield some very impressive work in the (hopefully) near future.