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Magic Arrows: Sweet Heavenly Angel of Death

Magic Arrows: Sweet Heavenly Angel of Death


By Raymond Cummings | Posted 6/1/2005

Who could blame Scott Beschta for finally striking out on his own? A back-to-back string of indie stints—as initial bassist with emo-wimps the Promise Ring, keyboardist briefly for postrocker Pele, with the New Rising Sons in an unknown capacity just before they split, and reteamed with members of Pele to generate the one-off electronic morass Telecognac—must have been enough to inspire the Milwaukee native to pursue his creative muse solo, under the Magic Arrows banner.

Frankly, there shouldn’t be a follow-up to Sweet Heavenly Angel Of Death. Fuck this underground rock shit—Beschta would do better to start shopping his work tapes directly to hip-hop labels, soundtrack producers, and musical coordinators for procedural crime shows, because taken alone, his moody, trip-hop-referencing instrumentals almost beg for a complement of visual stimuli and/or street-grime spitting. For one album at least, Beschta’s financial loss is the world of clued-in, expensive headphone-wearing hipsters’ gain.

The wiggling, weaving butterfly guitars and strings, static bustles, ghostly vocal yeahs, and sluggish drums of “Buffalo Gals” need a shaken MC to unpack the specifics of a near-death experience over them. “Jude’s Theme,” with its Tortoise-ish bass scoops, haunted horns, and pea-soup-thick, fuzzy ambiance, fairly demands gritty rhymes about alley-dwelling smack addicts. The persistently droning keyboard wavering of “Afro Halo” and the vocals-processed-then-refracted-through-a-synthesizer drizzle of “Buzz,” on the other hand, evoke a furrow-browed, lab-coated Jorja Fox or William Peterson dusting a garbage bag for prints in the confines of a post-rave chill-out tent.

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