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Black Country,New Road-Ants From Up There ALBUM REVIEW


Written Before Listen


Well, here we are with Black Country, New Road’s sophomore album. I have a pretty personal connection with their debut For The first time as I reviewed it when I first began this account. It was the first group I got into due to this account and the first new album I loved. They are back a year later and unfortunately, this will be Isaac Wood’s last album with the group. Isaac Wood is a very characterized frontman with so much personality and it’s going to be unique to see where BCNR goes after this, but on the other hand, we have this album and without further ado, let’s get into it.


Production

I would first like to start with the production aspect of this album. I would like to say that a lot of it is super clean and there isn’t much reverb on this album. The guitars are clean except for the ending and a lot of the instrumentation leads towards chamber and post-rock with a mix of progressive pop music. Another thing that I will say is that the drums are heavy-hitting and the bass is a lot denser than the previous BCNR record. Overall, there is no complaint about the production at all.


Songwriting


If this is the last we will hear of Isaac writing for Black Country, New Road, he came out with a BANG!!!! Surely the topics of loss, self-doubt, alienation, depression, and anxiety are surfaced, but what makes the songwriting so good is Isaac’s word choice. Isaac makes sure that you hook onto every word that he sings as a lot of what he says is more unpredictable than anything.


Influences

On the last album, I drew comparisons to artists like Slint, Nick Cave, and Swans. This time around, those three acts are kind of extinct, maybe except for Slint. They also don’t sound as derivative as they did on the last record either as they form their sound. Think of it as the orchestral arrangements of Arcade Fire, the dynamics of Slint, the angsty vocal performances of Bright Eyes, Wolf Parade, and Talk Talk, the indie flare of Elbow as well as the free sounds of Godspeed You Black Emperor and Colin Stetson. I think that’s what makes this album so much more unique than their debut. They don’t sound derivative at all on this record and they combine all of their favorite music to combine one hell of a sound.


Genre Bending


Another thing I love about this record is that they don’t set any outliers on this record. They stick to a couple of sounds but all of the sounds are different. Both interludes use Georgia Ellery and Lewis Evans to their best abilities as they are the highlights of these interludes. The violin and saxophone are usually a staple of the Black Country New Road sound but the interludes are like their “Eruption” (well not to that extent but you get what I mean.) The songs “Chaos Space Marine” and “The Place Where He Inserted The Blade” not only are two of my favorite Black Country New Road songs, but they also showcase progressive pop music that can actually be sometimes. The songs “Concorde” and “Good Will Hunting” are crescendo-based indie tunes with a slow-core vibe to them. Alongside that, a good chunk of these tracks are just great post-rock tracks with amazing crescendos from not only the instrumentation but the vocal performances as well. I think it’s easy to say that Black Country New Road knows what their comfort zone is and it shows how effortlessly they can step out of it.


Cons

Well, I guess the only thing I can say about it is that some of the songs might get a little bit lengthy but honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much. To be fair, This is how you follow up a great debut!!!!


Verdict


This album is fantastic. I have to say right here right now, that with or without Isaac, I still look forward to seeing what Black Country New Road plans, but for now, this might just be their magnum opus. It’s just that good.


9/10






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