Black Country, New Road – For the first time

By gum, we’ve got ourselves a scene.

Sure, it’s been a scene for a couple years now, but I’m sure there’s a scene in Topeka that’s gone just as long if not longer. This scene’s gotten too big for its britches, and it’s hardly a scene anymore, it’s a country. When it cries for independence, we turn our heads. When it busts down your door and walks out with your wife over its shoulder: you listen. Look out Australia, the U.K has a new sound and it’s deep.

I’ve never felt there was particularly great music or a sound coming from the mother island since I’ve been alive. For what it’s worth I think those Gallagher brothers and their contemporaries are a bunch of incestuous cocksuckers. Everything after them and before this belongs in a rolodex. I genuinely believe this scene is the best thing to happen to the U.K since Ian Curtis had his first seizure. Like I said, it’s not just Brighton or London anymore, and it’s about to be not just the U.K neither. They’ll belong to the world soon enough.

I’m calling it Post-Art.

It’s Black Midi. It’s Squid. It’s Endless Digital Birthdays. It’s Black County, New Road’s debut album For the first time.

These guys have been chipping incisors for a while now despite packing light in the recorded discography department. In fact, the first I ever heard of them was on a Speedy Wunderground sampler. And I guess everyone did, because after that we knew who they were. Black County, New Road are a seven-piece ensemble and they’re already misunderstood by the press. People like to compare them to fellow scenesters like Black Midi and old Louisville sluggers Slint, and those people should be charley horsed because Black County, New Road are a thing of their own. Their songs are completely planned and rehearsed, which is completely opposite to the approach of Black Midi, whose sets and songs are largely from improvisation. And as for Slint, I can see it, and Black County, New Road oversees it, so they beat us to the punch and put it as a lyric in one of the tracks. Black Midi is also referenced on this album. So is Richard Hell, and Kanye fucking West. The lyrics are intrinsic to the edge of the sound. They are received like a soliloquy, one that attempts to subconsciously actualize their creator’s quiddity. That’s the glue that holds these bands together. They preach their home to us, and right now it’s a damp and moody place. They seek to take the clockwork order and paint it in a way that reveals themselves. It’s a Vaudeville dystopia where no one has the slightest answer for their irreverent crimes. These are the channelings of class anxiety. I heard it on Unknown Pleasures just as I hear it now, but these are just my words, on theirs.

How about what sets them apart? It’s the music itself. For the first time was made on the inside of the chocolate riverboat tunnel in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Images floating in and out, grisly and green. Lights and fixtures alike flash to disorient with perfect practice in the nick of time. It’s all part of their plan. A plan to weed out the spoiled cunts in hopes of striking the vein of their next successor. This is the only band in the scene with a more direct jazz application. This isn’t directly because of the presence of a saxophone or a violin working in tandem, it’s because the music and the sound calls for it. It wouldn’t be the same without it. It isn’t all off the rails too, the sound seems to have more savant to it. The structure is a lovely slaughter. For the first time is indicative of what I’ve coined to be “Anti-ska”. The first of its kind. It’s on the off beat and pisses against the third wave with a cutting current capable of imperialist conquest.

A black country, a new road indeed, and at the end of it could be a yummy christ, how would you know?

The future was just then.

Black Country, New Road
For the first time
[Ninja Tune]