Do you ever find yourself wishing that rock music had just a little more of a crunch to it? If so, you're probably not already aware of The Black Angels, the Austin-based psych rock band who have made one of the finest, purest rock albums of the year. Now would be as good a time as any to jump on board, because Indigo Meadow should ensure that they become a big deal very soon indeed. While their brooding style means that they probably won't break the mainstream, it's easy to imagine them not being overly concerned with such notions anyway; at the same time, the record ticks a considerable number of boxes, sounding both vintage and modern at different points (with 'The Day' sounding like it could have come straight out of the mid-1960s), its sound detailed but not overly polished - sounding delightfully muddy at times - and (most importantly) remaining an engaging listen from start to finish. The title track kicks things off, introducing an air of unease that seems to permeate the whole record, and joining with the fuzzed-up 'Evil Things' to deliver a one-two punch that sets the bar high for the rest of the album.

Living up to that opening pair of tracks is a tall order, but the entire album is consistent enough that it soon becomes difficult to pick out the high points; lead single 'Don't Play With Guns' sounds even better in its proper context, leading into the woozy, bass-driven 'Holland' with aplomb; the latter track is one of the slow-burners on the album, only falling into place properly after a few listens, in a similar manner to songs like 'I Hear Colours (Chromaesthesia)' and 'Twisted Light'. The band prefer not to sacrifice substance for immediacy, so it's just as well that they can often combine the two, with penultimate track 'You're Mine' providing one of the most layered experiences on the album, whilst simultaneously proving itself to be one of the most accessible moments on the record. The Black Angels are able to combine many different styles and blend them into a cohesive whole - in fact, one could say that this is their greatest asset. They're well able to rock out (the end section of closing track 'Black Isn't Black' should remove all doubt as to that), but they're also aware that variety is indeed the spice of life.

This is why they can include the intense 'War on Holiday' on the same record as the just-plain-tense 'Love Me Forever', and have the melancholic 'Always Maybe' sit next to the confident-sounding 'Broken Soldier'. Even if the group are most confident writing songs in a minor key, there are a variety of textures used and moods explored over the course of Indigo Meadow, meaning that the band's brooding ways never become tiresome. A mid-tempo album might have started to drag after a while, but The Black Angels keep things constantly interesting, and the way the album comes together when listened to as a whole makes it as vital and thrilling as it is. Each of the 13 songs depend on the others that surround them - no song on the record has as much impact on its own as it does as part of the album. This is album-oriented rock in the most literal sense of the term, and its creators are definitely in for a big year.