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Single Review: Black Country, New Road – Chaos Space Marine

‘How ballsy’, was what I initially thought when frontman Isaac Wood claimed ‘Chaos Space Marine’ is the best song Black Country, New Road have ever written. As an early follower of this band, and most importantly for their risk taking, I’d be sure to pick quick fights here. Their new departure in sound (that they keep referencing in interviews), choosing to opt for compact 3 minute songs instead of labyrinthian epics, truthfully put me a little in ‘defensive of the old’ mode. In contrast to my qualms however, this first taste of new BCNR material is just superb, and leaves little reason to think the new, just announced, album will be a slump. Kudos to them!

Sumptuous violin, pianos and sax lace around what is like an irish reel of a riff. Really cool stuff that. As is Wayne’s playful rim shot hits between drum fills. There’s an evident maturity in Wood’s songwriting that can only be praised. Although some may argue a love song is treading on common ground, rarely in recent times has a track described it in a more interesting way. Wood is going full on Neil Hannon here, and it makes for the most assured the group have ever sounded. Whimsical, light and airy. It’s weird to think that the first time I saw this band, Wood was hiding behind a speaker shouting aggressively about the youtube algorithm system. Change is inevitable and I’d never have thought they’d get a lot of radio airplay. It really speaks for their talent as musicians to change things up, yet not sell out.

There’s more to come. The septet spent the summer in Chale Abbey Studios in the Isle Of Wight recording their new album, ‘Ants From Up There’. It is set to be released on 4th February 2022 via Ninja Tune Records. It’s release falls just over the margin of a year since their debut. Likely to be something quite epic, including an ‘intro’ track. Pre order it here and hear the new track below.