A sublime meditation on mortality and memory, ghosts and grief, Angels of Death casts a series of spells against forgetting and finality, in the form of mystic-minimalist country-soul torch songs about writing, time travel, and spectral visitations. Ontario songwriter Jennifer Castle wrote and recorded this breathtaking follow-up to the acclaimed Pink City (2014) in a 19th century church near the shores of Lake Erie, where her family also lived and experienced a constellation of losses that inhabit these bruised musings.
The arrangements of these remarkable recordings hang in the air like the angels they describe, hovering aloft on pedal steel, strings, and keys. Sonically, songs like "Crying Shame" and "Grim Reaper," in their disciplined atomization of chords and carefully chosen words, are refined to the point of being barely there. Space is sculpted in silence, and the songs resemble gossamer webs, visible only at an angle, sunlight refracting through dew. Castle's voice is an instrument of exquisite ethereality and expressive linearity, limpid and narrow and pure as a mountain brook.
Angels of Death was produced by Castle and longtime collaborator Jeff McMurrich. Although augmented at subsequent Toronto sessions by other notable players such as Victoria Cheong and Isla Craig on backing vocals and Stew Crookes on pedal steel, the core band comprised Paul Mortimer on lead guitar, David Clarke on acoustic guitar, Jonathan Adjemian on organ/piano, Mike Smith on bass (he also wrote the string arrangements), Robbie Gordon on drums, and Castle on guitar and vocals. Much of it, and most of Jennifer's vocal tracks, were recorded live in the church over one cold weekend; "the moon," Castle reflects, "was a member of the band."
Deluxe virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty high-gloss board jacket, color inner sleeve with lyrics, color LP labels, and download code.