Music Reviews

Black Country, New Road For the first time

(Ninja Tune) Rating - 8/10

Black Country, New Road follow in the steps of frequent collaborators Black Midi—they bring to the table a loud, sprawling post-punk, jittering every step of the way. The London collective are willing to indulge on sparse, echoing beauty, chilled-out groove, and shrieking ferocity, often within a single song (highlight Sunglasses covers all of this ground and a couple other spots as well). They’ve brought a contingent of horns and violins, layering onto and duelling with the base rock-band instrumentation. They haven’t ruled out the possibility of some electronic what-have-you, as the rumbling breakdown of Science Fair makes clear. Crucially, they don’t seem to have ruled much of anything out at all. As such, For the first time is usually nonsensical, frequently transcendent, and compulsively listenable. Everything that sprung to mind is on the wax here, but BC, NR don’t forget to make it catchy and groovy. In nailing that balance, they’ve given us the year’s first capital-G Great record.