The story detailing the relationship between a man and a woman light years apart is a beguiling concept which requires equally beguiling music. Daniel Angelus second album Wired For Heartbreak is the sound track to that story, and Reflection is just one fascinating dipping of the toe into the musical waters of what a concept album can sound like at the sharp edge of the 21st century. If the term conjures images of pretentious prog-rockers, playing stages the size of small planets, singing Tolkien inspired nonsense… possibly dressed as wizards, then Angelus take on the concept album…err, concept, is exactly what you need.
Musically it is everything you need to restore your faith in such an idea, built from shimmering dreamstate pop, hazy synthwave, understated dance grooves and wonderful dynamics which run from brooding near silence to falsetto crescendos. Reflection feels like a snap shot of a past that never quite happened, a late 70’s Berlin era Bowie track that didn’t quite come to fruition, a band that broke up before making their defining 4AD record, the experimentation of a New Romantic band before they copped out and accepted the commercial coin. It also sounds like the way forward, a cinematic vision of pop to come, a snap shot glance and teaser, for dance and pop’s next chapter.
Like all good science fiction, the subject matter here is a very good mirror of reality, whilst the over arching theme may be one of love, loss and longing across achingly vast distances, love, loss and longing are the mainstays of the human condition in every era. Whilst the song conjures futuristic images, the song is much more easily relatable than it might appear, something born out by the video which juxtaposes the lonely space farer dreaming of the very earth like settings that his loved ones still inhabit. Space isn’t the final frontier…love is!
I guess what I am trying to say here is that although using the same studio building bloacks as everyone else, Daniel Angelus seems to have few obvious comparisons. Some of it is familiar, you have heard snatches of that sound in the hidden depths of cinematic indie bands in ambient, early hours, apres-club chill outs and long forgotten dream-pop explorers but can I give you a solid reference upon which to hang Reflections overall sound? No. And that is the curse of originality and of course its blessing too. It is a world of comfort zones out there, one where tribute bands and TV show cover versions seem to get the spotlight and if that appeals to you then Angelus will confuse and confound you in equal measure. Of course, he might also be your saving grace.
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