Single Review: Black Country, New Road – Sunglasses

Black Country, New Road have announced a much-anticipated new single in the 8 minute ‘Sunglasses’. Mixed by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, the single was released digitally on 26th July via BC,NR / Speedy Wunderground and gets a physical release on 6th September through the Thurston Moore-affiliated Blank Editions. 500 copies of the single will be pressed to 7”, each copy a unique product, with different Polaroid images on each cover taken by the band.

I was instructed to listen to Black Country New Road by The Quietus’ John Doran whom I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year. Discussing ‘interesting’ new music, both Black Midi (off the scale amazing) and BCNR were mentioned in the same breath. John seemed particularly taken with a recent BCNR gig he’d seen so the name stuck as a band to check out.

Deserved BBC 6 Music interest and radio play finally introduced me to BCNR and their epic new single ‘Sunglasses’. At 8 minutes 53, this isn’t your usual ‘single’, but by god is it worth every second of your time.

Gentle guitar, drums and an ambient noise introduce the track. The bass comes in, and the spoken word vocals wash over talking about ‘six part Danish tv series’ and ‘big pharma’. The vocals are deliciously high in the mix. A gentle sax comes in and the tension of the increasingly strained vocals builds and builds until the sax becomes a gorgeous skronk and the music and vocals eventually achieve an amazing  crescendo.

The tone of the song suddenly shifts back to a simple guitar riff and drums and the whole beautiful mess starts again.

The drum riff with the guitar combine to produce such a dynamic throb that drives the track. The vocals and sax come in on top again and the resulting product is a post-punk spasmodic attack that is quite simply one of the best things I have heard in the last 10 years. Fuck it, 20 years.

Channelling both Captain Beefheart and Slint, Black Country New Road are a massive breath of fresh air and ‘Sunglasses’ has got to be one of the tracks of the year. It’s simply genius stuff.

Live dates:

24.08.19 – End Of The Road Festival, Dorset, UK
24.09 – Boston Music Rooms, London, UK
29.09 – The Portland Arms, Cambridge, UK
30.09 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton, UK
01.10 – Rough Trade, Bristol, UK
02.10 – Yes Basement, Manchester, UK
03.10 – Poetry Club, Glasgow, UK
04.10 – Elsewhere, Margate, UK
19.10 – SWN Festival, Cardiff, UK
20.10 – Future Days, Birmingham, UK
09.11 – Primavera Sound 20th Anniversary, Benidorm, Spain
10.11 – Sonic City, Kortrijk, Belgium

Black Country, New Road are:

May Kershaw – Keys
Charlie Wayne – Drums
Luke Mark – Guitar
Isaac Wood – Vocals/Guitar
Tyler Hyde – Bass
Lewis Evans – Sax
Georgia Ellery – Violin

Review by Ioan Humphreys

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