UK duo embrace the chaos of the last two years on their new album.
As America was preparing to head into lockdown in 2020 there was just one flight left out of New York’s JFK airport. Sian Chandler and Ray Hughes were on board and they touched down back home in the UK to find a very different world from the one they’d relentlessly toured for the four years since the release of the debut, “Soaked To The Bone”. Holing up in a converted chapel in a remote Welsh village they embarked on the writing and recording of the record that now sees the light of day, “Angel Dust & Cyanide”.
Despite the sinister, crepuscular title the album is spacious and airy, a collection of largely acoustic and simply melodic songs that reflect the peaceful, intimate environment in which they were conceived. Hughes and Chandler’s voices blend seamlessly over the course of the eleven songs here. The album flows gently with a modern, radio friendly pop-country feel that veers more towards the more accessible end of Americana.
Opener ‘Lighthouse on Fire’ leads in with a long and mournful instrumental introduction, suggesting that something dark and foreboding is imminent, but surprisingly the song quickly shifts gear into a soundscape of softly strummed acoustic guitars, and the aforementioned flawless harmonies. This sets the tone generally for the remainder of the album, the pristine production lacking the grit and bite that could make “Angel Dust & Cyanide” a more compelling listen.
The lead off single is a cover of Portishead’s trip-hop classic ‘Glory Box’ and it is on this track that The Black Feathers sound most like they’re letting loose and having fun. The subdued circumstances that surrounded the album’s writing and recording process is undoubtedly a key factor in the largely reserved and placid mood, however the songs here may well have benefitted from a more dimensional, live sounding production.
Overall, “Angel Dust & Cyanide” is an easy, pleasant listen, but lacks the spark that could make it a more satisfying record.