25 Sep 2023

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Like Angels - Album Review: Your Day Will Come

18 Jul 2023 // A review by Roger Bowie

Like Angels is the new solo project from Lyttelton based Robert McLean, and was also the title track of his previous release with his band How to Kill, back in 2010. Robert has taken time away from music but is now back home and has written and self-produced an 88 minute album of progressive apocalypse in Killswitch studios (now that seems appropriate) in Lyttelton. 

Your Time Will Come  is not so much a promise about the future as an existential threat, and without context it might be a troublesome journey. A wall of progressive sound which for the most part defies specific interpretation and only the track-by-track articulation in the PR blurb which came with my digital file provides some clues as to what is going on here. The physical release has a deluxe edition with a 24-page booklet which might be better for your spiritual health.

8 long, well you can’t call them songs, more like sonic journeys into the void. After a few listens, patterns emerge. It’s not bad, it’s just challenging, and that may be the purpose. 

Plantagenet Kings behold a Dutch ship in 1642, in Mohua Golden Bay. New Day starts with a Tool-kit drum beat before power chords kick in and a keyboard floats. Finally a guitar solo emerges with a touch of Frippery, but then loses its way in a long sequence of scales, then stops, then starts again. Apocalypse now, a flood of serotonin and cortisol is what the New Day brings. Time to wake up, but to what? 

Fountain of Youth is a destroyer of worlds (in brackets) which is a contradiction in concepts, but starts intriguingly enough in electro-prog primp, before escalating into a metaphor for galactic travel which ends up on a beach in Florida. Try smoking that. 

Finisterre presumes the earth is flat and therefore there is an end and here we find ourselves in sombre contemplation of being on the edge of the void for at least 10 minutes before we meander along for a further 9 but presumably survive. Perhaps the earth is round. 

And on we go. Apocalyptic scenarios of the world on fire (which is not so far removed from reality these days), and mythical ancient gods ripping young men apart by metal (picture a cluster bomb in Ukraine) before Your Time Will Come and you are in a dream where you try to move but can’t so you jump……. finally, we arrive at Year Zero which is actually not too demanding on the ears so perhaps there is hope for renewal and rebirth after oblivion.

Is this an idea, an ideology, an inspiration? Or just an indulgence? Ultimately, I leave that to you, but with these few words even I could find some crazy meaning meandering through chaos.

Have a listen to Your Time Will Come. Loud. Maybe get some help.


About Like Angels

Your Time Will Come is the debut album by Like Angels, the new solo project of How to Kill songwriter/guitarist Robert McLean. The 88-minute long double-disc album features 8 genre-defying guitar-driven instrumental pieces, continuing on his work creating soundtracks, soundscapes, visages and movements in How To Kill, but defining this collection as separate from the work he does with the 4 piece band, as he has composed and performed this collection solo.

Not long after the release of the How to Kill debut album (Like Angels 2010, which is where Robert has culled the name for this project from) the band went on hiatus following the Christchurch earthquakes. McLean leaving for Wellington, where he concentrated on his writing. During that time, he wrote/edited ten books, including 2019's Enduring Love, his collected poems. Returning to Lyttleton he re-ignited his involvement with music, both with a reconvened How to Kill and on his own.

With the band as a live vehicle, the solo work took a different but related direction: whilst keeping the cinematic expansiveness, the unusual rhythmic intensity, and sonic nuance of How to Kill, the developing demos had a wider range of references and broader sonic palette. Like the music he was listening to at the time - Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, Krautrockers Can, mid-70's King Crimson, This Heat, Loop, Bark Psychosis, Talk Talk, early PiL, and African Headcharge, the tracks on Your Time Will Come unfold organically and gradually, but with purposiveness and drive. The album's pieces unfold in sections, using rhythmic and melodic motifs. Rather than being composed before being recorded and arranged, they developed organically and experimentally as the process unfolded. And even with influences as diverse the Afro-Beat of Fela Kuti and the black metal of Altar of Plagues, it has a definite mood and character: Your Time Will Come has a cinematic scope and emotional charge, often evoking the feeling of being at sea: the ocean's vastness, depth, and power, and our fragility compared to it.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Like Angels


Your Time Will Come
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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