Black Country, New Road: Ants From Above Album Review


The Concorde jet: aeronautical disgrace, financial mess, multinational embarrassment. But holy metaphor. Isaac Wood returns to it several times throughout Black Country, New Road’s second album, Ants from above, most ostensibly on the themed centerpiece that bears his name. “I was made to love you, can’t you tell?” Wood pleads as “Concorde” reaches dizzying heights, desperately embodying a romantic mistake of sunk cost, throwing good love after bad.

Until about a week ago, Ants from above could be heard as a classic break-up album. The seven-member London band amplifies the dynamic of Wood’s every convulsion, from giddy infatuation to crippling despair, as he desperately sacrifices his serenity for a tragic and heroic cause. But on January 31, the band announced, through Wood’s own emotional letter, that he “would no longer be a member of the band” and that the remaining members would continue without him. So now the question is: “Breaking up with Who“Isaac will suffer, Concorde will fly”, he sings a minute earlier on “Concorde”. the rest of the world.

For all doubt the circumstances around Ants from above throws on the band’s immediate outlook, they’re right where they left off almost a year ago to the day. Black Country’s two studio albums, New Road are final destinations, capping off a year of road testing new material. Nearly 75% of their debut in 2021, For the first time, had been available and loudly celebrated prior to its release, and when the album was released, the band began to distance themselves from their “first phase”. “There will be a clear delineation between those first 18 months…and what follows,” said saxophonist Lewis Evans nearly four months before their debut album. “We went in a new direction and write with a new philosophy.” Ants from above Very First Moments reintroduced a band that couldn’t be more excited about where things were headed. While For the first time began with a bold and alienating six-minute instrumental, this “Intro” lasts 54 seconds before bursting into what the band called the “best song we’ve ever written.” They are not wrong.

“And though England is mine, I must leave it all behind,” Wood announces in the album’s opening statement, a newly beautiful beat carrying a quintessential BC, NR lyric: brash enough to serve pull quote for a NME cover up and subjected to granular pop culture forensic analysis. It’s definitely a reference to the tabletop game Warhammer 40,000, perhaps an tweak to The Smiths’ “Still Ill”, and hopefully a shot at the wave of talkative British post-rock bands including Black County, New Road were once part of and are now graduates. “Chaos Space Marine” could best be described as pre-rock, touching on klezmer, chamber music, jazz or any form of pop using strings or horns as main instruments.


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