The Fallen Angels was a psychedelic rock band from Washington D.C. that was formed in 1966. Though the group didn’t necessarily receive national attention, the group was popular in the underground music scene. The group only ever released two albums during their initial time together, both of which are seemingly collector’s items as original copies on vinyl are selling for upwards of $250. This album, It’s a Long Way Down (1968), is the group’s second album, and has been described as “the so-called Sgt. Pepper of Washington D.C.” on sites like TheRisingStorm.net. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Poor Old Man” starts out with a sweet, mellow guitar line that is soon echoed by a thick, chunky bass line on the opposite side of the soundscape. Holy smokes, I’m really digging this sound. Some organs, drums, and almost what sounds to be a harpsichord comes in as well. Holy smokes, the track really mellows out nicely. Holy smokes, I really dig the rattling of percussion in the background, which sounds like a mixture of a waterfall and an old wooden rollercoaster. Oh wow, I’m really digging this track. The soundscape continually evolves in a manner reminiscent of progressive rock groups from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has the flavor of classic mid-to-late 1960s psychedelic rock. Holy smokes, the track drops back into the intro movement after a mellow jazz-inflected section. Wow, great track.
Holy smokes, “A Horn Playing on My Thin Wall” starts out with some really sweet pop-y flavors from the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass guitar, while the organs seem to gently drone with bright psych-inflected flavors in the background. Oh wow, this is super sweet. I’m kind of reminded of Paper Garden with this track; Paper Garden was a psychedelic rock band from the mid-to-late 1960s that reminded me very much of The Beatles with the amount of care and production that seemed to go into their songs. Holy smokes, I really dig the sort of syncopated build up for the chorus of the track. There are some really sweet bells and chimes that add a bit of jangling flavor that I really dig as well. Wow, great track.
“Something New You Can Hide In” starts out with some strange percussion with what sound to be tremolo’d bells, some light cymbals, what almost sounds to be some reversed instrument, and some mellow electric guitar work that seems to flow along with the bells/percussion, all of which combine for a sort of psychedelic raga-inflected feel that I really dig. Holy smokes, this track really gets grooving nicely. At this point the track feels like some mixture of The Doors and Paper Garden. I really dig the acoustic guitar work in this track. The mixture of timbres and flavors has me continually listening closer as the music continues. Holy smokes, it sounds like there’s a bass-y tabla added that adds even more raga-inflected psychedelic flavors to the soundscape. Wow, great track.
“Tell You a Story” starts out with some sweet piano work that reminds me a lot of psychedelic progressive rock groups from the mid-to-late 1960s like Felt or even Family. Oh wow, the music seems to gradually meander off-key as the acoustic guitar comes in. Super sweet and short tune.
Holy smokes, “Silent Garden” starts out with some really sweet folksy flavors with the vocal harmonies and the combination of the acoustic guitar and piano, which almost give a vague impression of a harpsichord. Holy smokes, there’s a really sweet harp line that seems to wash through the soundscape. Wow, great tune.
“Look to the Sun” starts out with some really quick acoustic guitar lines that seem to keep up a dynamic and speedy feel, especially as the vocals come in. Oh wow, I’m really digging this track. The song almost sounds like a mid-to-late 1960s psychedelic rock band’s folksy rendition of a Bob Gibson tune from the earlier 1960s. Oh wow, the resolution at the end of the chorus is super sweet. The vocals almost remind me of the vocals from The Freeborne, a psychedelic rock band from the Boston-area in the mid-to-late 1960s. The folksy nature of the tune almost has a sort of Jerry Garcia/David Grisman duo feel that I really dig. Wow, great track.
“One of the Few Ones Left” starts out with some mellow acoustic guitar and percussion that I really dig. Holy smokes, the track breaks through to a really groovy, somewhat strange, intense chorus that almost has a sort of Spanish feel to it with the orchestral strings and the strumming of the acoustic guitar. Holy smokes, I really dig the way the vocals, piano, and orchestral strings all seem to glide alongside one another for a super sweet ballad-like feel. Great tune.
“I Really Love My Mother” gets started with some playful piano, whimsical chorus vocals, and some light percussion. Super sweet tune.
“Look at the Wind” gets started with a super groovy, bluesy, jazz-inflected psychedelic rock swing between the airy drums, the rockin’ piano lines, and the seemingly exploratory nature of the meandering lead guitar lines. Holy smokes, the track mellows out, with the guitar playing some lines that feel like a psychedelic rock-inflected version of some Grant Green licks. Wow, great tune.
“Didn’t I” starts out with some melancholic, repeating acoustic guitar lines that are backed up by what sounds to be some distant, droning notes from a keyboard of some sort. Oh wow, I really dig the falsetto vocals, which add even more weight to deeper vocal lines. Holy smokes, there are some droning notes from a cello that come in near the end of the track that I really dig. Great tune.
“It’s a Long Way Down” gets started with a really sweet, upbeat feel that almost has a bit of a psychedelic prog rock feel with the style of the chugging drums, grooving bass, the thick piano chords, and the bright, punchy tone of the clean electric guitar. Wow, super groovy tune.
“I’ll Drive You from My Mind” starts out with some dark-sounding acoustic guitar arpeggios and a deep, pulsing bass line, which almost have a sort of cowboy-esque psychedelic feel, as though you’re crossing the Mojave desert in the middle of the night, with moon not visible in the night sky, and you’re almost out of water. I really dig the way the piano moves alongside the acoustic guitar, which causes the two instruments to sound like a single harpsichord. Holy smokes, the track takes a super far-out turn as some droning notes from a sitar are added, a tremolo effect is added to the vocals, and what sounds to be a synth or keyboard comes in with some spacey effects alongside the sitar. Oh wow, the track takes a somewhat eerie turn for the final outro movement as some strange, tremolo’d orchestral strings are added while a harp adds a ton of melodious sweetness alongside those orchestral strings. Wow, great track, and a great way to finish up the album.
Holy smokes, this album is great. The listening experience indeed reminded me of the sort of concept-album feel reminiscent of The Beatles with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), as well as some progressive rock groups from the latter 1960s and even the early 1970s. There also seemed to be a lot of attention to detail in the production of each song, which reminded me a fair bit of Paper Garden, which is a group that reminded me a lot of The Beatles. With that said, I was also reminded of other psychedelic rock groups from the time period, including The Freeborne and even The Doors, especially The Doors’ fourth album, The Soft Parade (1969), as there were some some orchestral strings and sometimes dark themes as well. I also want to note that there did seem to be a folksy side of the album that I really dig as well, which had me thinking of the folk stylings of the David Grisman and Jerry Garcia duo at certain times. If you’re into psychedelic rock and/or psychedelic music in general with a lot of attention to detail, then you might want to consider giving this album a listen. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.