Repetitive basslines, acerbic riffs and off-the-wall, stream-of-conscious poetry, Black Country, New Road‘s debut is an astounding effort.
Black Country, New Road have been whipping up a storm on the mutated London post-punk scene lately. Like Duds they have a brass section but where bands like Honkies bring country into the fold, Black Country, New Road bring post-rock.
Their first single, Athens, France, starts a lot like any hit from Slint’s Spiderland and continues into numerous different sections that represent a darker Tortoise. Released on Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label, home to the likes of Squid and black midi, the record also bears heavy resemblance to a less funky, more moody James Chance and the Contortions, a band BCNR will support later in the year. The brass crescendos and the bass relents while each different change of pace and dynamic, of which there are loads, keeps you guessing.
As far as the lyrics and vocal delivery are concerned, it’s an acquired taste. It definitely works in the context of the music, the off-the-wall, stream-of-conscious poetry could brush on pretension for some, yet works well. Moreover, the lyrics’ nature and guitars-a-clanging conjure up an image of Steve Albini alone in a grotty, property guardianship basement devising them, creepy right?
Live, the band add a violinist but this is scarcely heard on the record. It’s dominated by repetitive basslines, acerbic riffs and cymbal and tom heavy drums. The production is perfect, something we’ve all come to expect from Dan Carey and as far as first record’s go it’s an astounding effort. BCNR would have their place in New York’s no-wave culture and have definitely become a staple in whatever you want to call whatever is going on in south London right now.
By Tom Johnson