Black Country, New Road — „Ants from Up There“ (4th Feb., 2022)

USA FLAG                                     Black Country, New Road — „Ants from Up There“ (4th Feb., 2022)
Část jejich nesmírné přitažlivosti vždy spočívala v tom, že kombo působilo jako vesnická komunitní dechovka náhle posedlá satanem; jejich řemeslem jsou poruchy saxofonu a houslí, cvičení, které běžně provádějí v příliš velkých pletených svetrech. Mnoho členů kapely se prodírá přeplněným davem a zvedne své nástroje — přechod, díky kterému okamžitě přejdou z přátelské party mladých do londýnského ekvivalentu dětí z vesnice The Damned. 
About: Ants from Up There bude Black Country, druhý celovečeráček New Road po jejich debutu v roce 2021. Album Ants from Up There bylo oznámeno 12. října 2021 spolu s vydáním prvního singlu alba „Chaos Space Marine“, který frontman skupiny Isaac Wood, popsal jako „nejlepší píseň, jakou kdy napsali“. Název písně je odvozen od stejnojmenných miniaturních figurek ve franšíze Warhammer 40 000. 2. listopadu skupina vydala „Bread Song“ jako druhý singl. Instrumentální styl písně byl inspirován skladbou Steve Reicha z díla Music for 18 Musicians, kde skupina měla hrát bez definitivního načasování a náznaků. Ve výsledku je „Bread Song“ atmosféričtější, než „Chaos Space Marine“. Třetí singl „Concorde“ byl vydán 30. listopadu 2021. V rozhovoru pro Consequence skupina řekla, že použila mandolínu, aby dala písni „nepředvídatelnost“ a „svižný a ostrý prvek“. Jiné písně z tracklistu alba byly provedeny živě před vydáním alba. „Haldern“ byla poprvé uvedena jako součást improvizovaného jamu na Haldern Pop Festivalu 2020. Píseň „Mark’s Theme“, kterou Evans napsal jako věnování svému strýci [zemřel na COVID~19], byla poprvé uvedena dne na jejich koncertu Queen Elizabeth Hall dne 6. března 2021. Několik dalších písní, včetně „Good Will Hunting“, „Concorde“, „Chaos Space Marine“ a „The Place Where He Inserted The Blade“ bylo provedeno živě v roce 2020 během společenského turné kapely po Velké Británii a Evropě na podporu alba „For the First Time“ (5th Feb., 2021). –♦ Georgia Ellery — violin {Q4 AOT Day 03}Studio: Chale Abbey, Isle Of Wight, England 
Location: Cambridge, London, England
Album release: 4th Feb., 2022
Record Label: Ninja Tune
Duration: 58:50+64:59 = 123:49
01. Intro   0:55
02. Chaos Space Marine   3:37
03. Concorde   6:04
04. Bread Song   6:21
05. Good Will Hunting   4:58
06. Haldern   5:05
07. Mark’s Theme   2:47
08. The Place Where He Inserted the Blade   7:13
09. Snow Globes   9:13
10. Basketball Shoes   12:37
Disc 2:
Live from the Queen Elizabeth Hall:
01. Mark’s Theme   2:43 
02. Instrumental   5:26 
03. Athens France   6:50 
04. Science Fair   6:34 
05. Sunglasses   9:00
06. Track X   5:09 
07. Opus   8:57 
08. Bread Song   6:56 
09. Basketball Shoes   13:24 
Isaac Wood — lead vocals, guitar
Tyler Hyde — bass guitar, backing vocals
Lewis Evans — saxophone
Georgia Ellery — violin
May Kershaw — keyboards, backing vocals
Charlie Wayne — drums
Luke Mark — guitar
Touring musicians:
♦  Nina Lim — violin (2021; served as substitute for Ellery while she was touring with Jockstrap)

Black Country, New Road jsou jednou z nejzajímavějších britských kapel. Jejich schopnost kombinovat neurózy Slint a American Football, dynamickou sílu Swans, Godspeed! a kousavé polomluvené postřehy TV Personalities jim dodávají nesmírně svěží a strhující zvuk. Vskutku, stejně jako Squid a Black Midi, díky těmto bandům je možné skutečně hrát na své nástroje na vysoké úrovni. Někdy je snadné být na cestě světa a umění v něm obsaženého, ​​ale pokud je budoucnost tak oslnivě vzrušující, jak se zdá, když jsou na scéně Black Country, New Road, pak se možná vyplatí počkat. Mimochodem, toto album získalo titul ALBUM OF THE MONTH v březnovém čísle magazínu UNCUT. A aniž bchom si to uvědomili, měsíc předtím jsme si ho objednali do redakci. Máme ho! 
Post~rockový komorní ansámbl burácí přímo vzadu s emocionálně maximalistickým opusem. ⇔  
by Alan Ashton~Smith 1 Feb 2022Score: ★★★★
Black Country, New Road’s second album finds the seven~piece ensemble subtly evolving their experimental post~punk in a way that suggests they are starting to take themselves more seriously. It’s no less sprawling or spiralling than their debut album, For the First Time, but it is less bombastic; it sounds as though Black Country, New Road are less concerned with making a statement, more willing to let their songs unravel slowly instead of uncoiling with jack~in~the~box furore.
Isaac Wood’s vocals are now largely sung, rather than being intoned querulously in the kind of sprechgesang that’s become a modus operandi for what seems like every new band. That shift in delivery alone makes Ants from Up There feel much less melodramatic than For the First Time.
But a lot of what made Black Country, New Road so interesting has stuck. The obtuse lyrical motifs, the fact their tracks feel more composed than song~written — so that Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Michael Nyman often feel like more apt comparisons than contemporaries like Black Midi and Squid, and their jazz~like sensibility. And throughout Ants From Up There, they seem to revel in the creation of different atmospheres rather than the laying down of hooks or choruses.
Lead single Chaos Space Marine is the first track proper after the instrumental intro, and it packs a lot into three and half minutes. It sounds as though they’re having more fun than before too — just listen to those sax toots and catgut tremors as the instruments introduce themselves. Bread Song unravels itself from rattle and drone into a spikier post punk ballad about a lover who won’t allow the narrator to eat toast in bed, while Haldern is rooted in minimalist piano. Mark’s Theme — a tribute to saxophonist Lewis Evans’ uncle, who died from covid~19 — is a drizzly Edward Hopper painting of a piece, all mournful Tom Waitsian beauty.
There is a model aircraft in some kind of evidence bag on the album sleeve and Concorde references recur throughout the record. It’s the title of one of the tracks and Wood uses it in several others, seemingly as a metaphor for a distant love object. It could serve as a breadcrumb trail to follow — if we want to summon up well~rehearsed comparisons between Black Country, New Road and Slint — or maybe as a contrail spuming out from a craft that’s already left us. If we were to get all etymological about it, then we might note the word’s origin in the Latin concordia, meaning harmony — fitting for a band that tightly and cleverly layers timbres and tones. But then, the other major recurring lyrical theme is ‘Billie Eilish style’, so who knows?
Thematic depth or throwaway references aside, the developed ambition of Black Country, New Road really shows in the final two tracks. Snow Globes starts with a simple repeating guitar pattern — there’s a full three minutes of instrumentals before the vocals kick in — but the layers of instruments, and their different resonances, generate real interest and emotion. The drumming in particular goes beyond drumming here — it’s used more like classical percussion at first, but it turns into a veritable artillery as the song reaches its sublime crescendo. The vocals get more belligerent, the drums get more frantic, but the underpinning repeating pattern of guitar and violin keeps going. It sounds almost as if Sigur Rós and Napalm Death were forced to collaborate — surely a terrible idea, but here Black Country, New Road suggest it could possibly work. And then, to round things off, there’s Basketball Shoes, a longstanding live staple, and a three~act surrealist play of a song — epic post~rock delivered with a sideways glance.
There’s a kind of posthuman 1980s retro~futurism at work in Ants From Up There. It’s there in the space marine and Concorde references, the headset worn by the love object of Bread Song, the ‘battleship of memory’ that surfaces in Snow Globes. But alongside that coldness there are plenty of sad and tender moments. Tenderness and yearning concealed behind a metallic carapace — the line from Chaos Space Marine, ‘Darling, won’t you take my metal hand’ exemplifies this best. For The First Time suggested that BC,NR were wilfully oblique arty types, smirking behind their sunglasses, but this is a more heart~on~sleeve album. Let’s not get too sentimental about it though — that heart is carved into a suit of armour, not tattooed on warm skin.
By Ian CohenREVIEWED: February 8, 2022Score: 8.4 BEST NEW MUSIC
BC:♦ Isaac Wood — lead vocals, guitar. Q4 AOT Day 03