Black Country, New Road – ‘Sunglasses’ Single Review
4/5: Twisted, Ambitious and Theatrical
Six piece alternative rock group ‘Black Country, New Road’ showcase post punk, alternative rock, jazz and spoken word on their new, second single ‘Sunglasses’. Released digitally on July 26th, and physically on 6th September (on limited 7 inch), this will surely raise a few eyebrows. Following previous release ‘Athens, France’ the group move forward to making an ambitious 8 minute track.
Split in two halves, Wood delivers a theatrical monologue over an atmospheric guitar. Instrumentally sounding like it could be from a ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor’ album. Wood discusses Danish crime dramas, Nutribullet and British engineering. Wood sporadically jumps between topics in the space of a sentence. His style of writing is reminiscent to Burroughs and his cut up technique. It is hard to understand what the meaning of the song really is with this technique as many topics are surrounding it.
Instrumentally the track builds up with some inviting saxophone smeared in reverb, only to transcend into unsettling territory within seconds. The saxophone transitions into some avant garde playing. Woods vocals turn into a whispered scream. A transition that makes the track all the more unsettling, yet gratifying. Unfortunately they move out of this section before really exploring it. A (John) Coltrane ‘Ascension’ type solo would’ve benefited the track, and shown the saxophone skills of Lewis Evans. I can’t help but feel an itch isn’t scratched when listening to this section.
This doesn’t make the second half completely throwaway though, the lyrics are more cocaine fuelled than the first. The guitars are stuck in a discordant riff. It sounds very reminiscent to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band’s ‘Dali’s Car’. Wood declares he is ‘invincible’ and is the ‘modern Scott Walker’, an obvious influence when it comes to the dramatic delivery. The track makes me question whether their debut album will be as bizarre as ‘Tilt’ or ‘Bisch Bosch’.
This is a worthwhile listen, and a band to keep your ears open for. The future could hold something great. With more focused lyrics, and a step further into unknown territory the music could be pure gold. Yet another intriguing release under the Speedy Wunderground label.