For the first time Review
I’ve been a huge fan of English post-punks Black Country, New Road since hearing their first single, Athen’s, France in 2019, and have been desperate for them to release an album ever since. Today was finally the day, with their release of For the first time and I’m so happy that it’s lived up to my expectations. They have a very “music school rock band” kinda sound, reminiscent of an edgier version of Bent Knee, and I think they make it work triumphantly. They have a raw and complex sound, but not one that verges onto chaos in the same way compatriot and touring partners black midi often do. The violin and saxophone add a great depth to the sound and seem to draw from both avant-garde jazz and Romani music, when combined with Isaac Wood’s anxious, pained vocals make for an intense ride. Sunglasses was possibly my favourite single of last year, and I love that they’ve reworked it for the album version, for the second time. For a debut album it’s remarkably coherent and all six tracks blend seamlessly into one another, as if each is a movement in a larger piece of music. I’ve already listened to it several times through today.
I’m sure their music and their listeners could deservedly be criticised for being pretentious, but who cares, I think it’s amazing. Already an early contender for album of the year, 9/10.