The Black Angels singer/bassist Alex Maas released his second single, “American Conquest.” It came with an animated music video and arrives in advance of his debut solo album, Luca, due December 4 on Innovative Leisure.
“American Conquest” is a psychedelic song that builds off a bass line that wouldn’t be out of place on any of The Black Angels’ albums, but remains mellow throughout. It has a hypnotic atmosphere due to the repetitive bass, the backing guitar part, the sparse drums and the synth organ mirroring the chorus melody.
Maas’ lyrics specifically deal with gun violence, but also with hatred as a whole. “So many people eat hatred and feed it to their children,” he says via press release. “On this song, I’m trying to make the point that we collectively need to change the diets of parents if we expect the future to be bright. The world is definitely messed up, but there’s a lot of good in it too. That’s why the whole world isn’t on fire—parts of it are. I do believe that there’s more good than evil.”
In the video, a gun fires a bullet that the viewer follows as it flies. Most of the time, the background passing by is just different colorful patterns, but there are also some human figures, including lines of malnourished babies carrying guns. John-Mark Lapham is credited for animations & designs in cooperation with Split Constellation and Mike Turzanski is credited with the art and textures.
The album’s first single was “Been Struggling,” which is a much more dynamic song but still notably calmer than The Black Angels’ output. It was the first music Maas had released since The Black Angels’ Death Song in 2017, the same year he started recording this album. Luca was named after Maas’ firstborn son and covers his experience as a new father while voicing concerns about the world that Luca was born into.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat