4/29/17 – Michael Angelo “Michael Angelo” (1977)

The only real criteria I have for writing a review of an album is if it’s something I want to talk about. As soon as I heard the guitar riff on Flight of Pegasus, the opening track of Michael Angelo’s self titled album, I knew I had to write about this album. I found this by looking under discogs’s records in price descending, this being one of the most expensive. Apparently only 500 were originally pressed and this has been viewed as another lost classic. Even finding mp3s of this album was a challenge, and the vinyl rip wasn’t done all that well, the bass overpowers overpowers a lot of songs. I decided to bite the bullet and buy it from Anthology Recordings, just to get a better version. It’s still not perfect, the recording feels very light and tinny, but I’ll take it. Michael Angelo is a session musician and this was apparently a labor of love, recorded after hours with himself playing the instruments (besides drums).

Michael Angelo’s sound has that classic 60s and 70s Psychedelic Rock sound, with some seriously catchy grooves. The World to Be is a fantastic ride, an infectious bass line that doesn’t give up. He sometimes strays into Folk-Rock with that song and the following, Lost in the Pain. Like you would imagine by the title, the song deals with loss and isolation. The lyrics are
“I can’t understand
What makes them blind to see
But I think,
They’re lost in the pain
They’re lost in the rain”

There’s something magical about his singing, and Checkout is a prime example of that. Angelo’s voice is just beautiful here, even when singing about something so depressing. Both and the end and halfway through have this cataclysmic thunder of noise that I feel adds a lot of depth and gravity to the song. He changes the vibe to optimistic positivity with the songs Journey and Inner Reflections, narrowly avoiding creating a nearly completely bleak album. The album as a whole feels very personal, with peaks and valleys of mood and excitement. The Beatles were definitely a huge inspiration for this album, but it never feels like he’s just a poor imitation, this feels like his own vision.

Closing out the album is the robust and meandering Future, a fantastic Psychedelic piece with some of Michael Angelo’s best guitar playing so far on the album. It’s a wonderfully dreamy, and something that I can listen to on repeat, like a number of tracks on this album. Fans of this era of music will feel at home here on Michael Angelo, and even fans of contemporary Psychedelic or even Indie-Rock can find something here that should’ve never been lost.