News/Review: Hear black midi’s Flamenco-inspired ‘Eat Men Eat’

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Despite the sweatbox heat, black midi used to religiously wear wide brim stetsons and thick overcoats to their shows. Something that can be recalled fondly when viewing their western-esque music video for ‘Eat Men Eat’; cinematically directed by photographer Maxim Kelly, who starkly marries the shooting styles of Brokeback Mountain and Rashomon.

Under the spell of this new track, I myself have missed many meals. It tells an elaborate story lyrically (told in further detail by Picton below) about a miner couple traveling through miles of desert land, lacking food and company. They are taken in by a suspicious captain, who invigorates them to eat great amounts of food. Things do not go to plan, as is natural in many great tales, and the couple break forth and escape vengefully, building themselves as people as they go.

This structured narrative is instrumentally supported by flemenco infused guitar work, hitched with palmas and various other percussive elements provided by Demi García Sabat. The bassline, that rides along like a horse on uneven cobbled roads, is the strangest (yet most funky) thing you will hear this year. And the part where the expressive guitars turn from vapour to liquid is just jaw dropping. Strings take central stage, and fill the track with a blood chilling suspense. It makes one wonder why the band didn’t decide to make this song longer. Nonetheless, the shortest songs sometimes leave the biggest impression, and in this case it certainly does.

Picton on his lyrics:

The story starts in the desert with two men engaged in a desperate search for missing friends. Their quest leads them to a strange mining facility which, despite a dearth of natural resources in the area, opens its doors for even stranger hosts to welcome them.

“That evening, with zero sign of their friends, a massive feast is laid on by the mine’s cantankerous Captain, who performs a long speech encouraging all to indulge as this is to be the workers’ last night before returning to their families. With good reason for suspicion the protagonists feign gluttony and consume as little as humanly possible. Unfortunately, as they later find, even that’s not quite enough. Night falls, they hide and as the workers fall comatose the wardens, overseen by the Captain, make preparations to pump their poisoned stomachs. It turns out the purpose of the mine is to procure an excess of human stomach acid used in the production of a bastardized blood red wine, sold and loved in the region.

“After the wider conspiracy is revealed and upon realizing their friends must be long gone, the partners decide they must destroy the facility. A spanner plugs the works however, as one of the men experiences mild effects of the poison and the production of acid in his stomach goes into overdrive. As his chest literally bubbles he says what may be his final goodbyes to his partner and the other man is left to do the heavy lifting alone.

“He succeeds and as they flee, arm in arm, the demon Captain erupts from the burning embers and curses the two men to the hell of crippling acid reflux for the rest of their days. They see no reason to worry though, as they’re sure to return home hailed as heroes.”

Pre Order Hellfire here. Released on Rough Trade Records on July 15 2022

Photo: Atiba Jefferson