Personnel: Jay Reatard (vocals, guitar, drums); Alix Brown (vocals).
Recording information: Atlanta and Memphis (09/10/2006/09/11/2006); Hotel2tango, Montreal (09/10/2006/09/11/2006); Atlanta and Memphis (2005-2006); Hotel2tango, Montreal (2005-2006).
Photographer: Chris Anderson .
Angry Angles may be most notable for being Jay Reatard's last collaboration before finding fame as a solo act, but this self-titled retrospective is a reminder that they had plenty of merit in their own right. With then-girlfriend Alix Brown and drummers Paul Artigues and Ryan Rousseau, Angry Angles honed their synth punk on a handful of EPs and singles before they -- and Reatard's relationship with Brown -- folded in 2006. The band's short, frenetic outbursts stand in stark contrast to the epic excursions of Reatard's previous group, Lost Sounds. "Things Are Moving," which appears in its officially released version as well as one that only appeared on the 2006 comp Totally Shattered Live!!!, could be Angry Angles' theme song: it's a brash, brazen piece of new wave from a band bursting with impatience. Here and on "Apparent - Transparent" -- a welcome showcase for Brown's vocals -- Angry Angles sound as assured as their punk and new wave heroes. They pay tribute to several of these greats with some well-chosen covers, including a striking version of Wire's "The 15th" that brings the emotions buried within the deadpan original to the fore, and a take on Devo's "Blockhead," the song that gave the band its name (they misheard the lyric "90 degree angles" as "angry angles"). They stay closer to home with a cover of the Oblivians' "Memphis Creep" that descends into joyous chaos, while the ultra lo-fi version of the Urinals' "Black Hole" reflects how Angry Angles' ragged sonics could hinder as much as help them. On their original songs, Angry Angles had a surprisingly wide range, spanning punk's creepy side on "You Fell In" and "In My Room," and its lunkheaded one on "Crowds" and "Stab You Dead." Meanwhile, combative love songs like the standout "You Call It Love" and "You Lied" make the most out of romantic dysfunction while suggesting the clock was already ticking on Brown and Reatard's time together. The previously unreleased songs from Montreal sessions add some polish to the band's fury, but overall, Angry Angles is an endearingly gritty artifact; though it points the way to Blood Visions, it's more than just a bridge between Lost Sounds and Reatard's solo years. ~ Heather Phares