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Reviews of records by Brown Angel and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

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Brown Angel
Shutout
(Sleeping Giant Glossolalia)
brownangel.bandcamp.com

In an exceptionally shitty year, this pessimistic record might not do much to cheer you up. But, like iodine on a cut, it might do you some good. The doom/experimental metal three-piece has always had a knack for grotesque melody, drawing oddly catchy riffs out of unforgiving industrial sludge. But while Shutout is hardly easy listening, it feels bigger, heavier and warmer than the band’s past output (the b-side covers of tracks by Chrome and Hüsker Dü are at least partly responsible for this). “Accessible” might sound like dubious praise for a band known for harshing mellows. But at a time where we could all use a little catharsis, Shutout feels as cozy as a lead blanket.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
(Self-released)
wisc.bandcamp.com

The band name suggests something sinister under its sweetness. But while singer/guitarist Jason Gamble doesn’t shy away from lyrical angst, positivity rules this record. Full arrangements and skilled musicianship carry the album, which will likely appeal to fans of John Mayer-style polished guitar pop. Horns, strings, keys and other unexpected instrumentation add some nice texture, but in general the songs are unwieldy and over-long, like practice jams that were never fully fleshed out. There are plenty of good-sounding elements, and a lot of earnest emotion, but ultimately things never fully gel.

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