Live Review: Black Country, New Road at Boston Music Rooms, Archway

It’s relatively quiet when I arrive early at Boston Music Rooms to see a band who are surely set to out grow such intimate surroundings. Black Country, New Road’s regular spot on the 6Music rota has earned them a fairly substantial following for an act that, at the moment of writing, only have two singles available to purchase. Both run past the six minute mark and contain lyrical gems such as ‘Mother is juicing watermelons on the breakfast island/And with frail hands she grips the NutriBullet’. Needless to say, you’d be forgiven for approaching with caution and yet if you do you run the risk of missing out on witnessing a truly captivating and exciting young British band.

Black Country, New Road fuse together the sprawling technicality that made Slint such an appealing act with the pained lyrical majesty of Saetia without ever quite sounding like either. Their rhythms are frantic, yet measured and the entire ensemble is held together by the rather nutty saxophone playing of their band leader, who tonight wears a bright yellow Paris Saint Germain shirt. This fluorescent garment is rather fetching and I find myself repeatedly drawn back to him; visually, the band embody that almost careless genius that so many great acts over the years have also wandered through. The set is a powerhouse run through five tracks, three as yet unreleased as far as I can make out which means that the audience, who sing and shout along with every word and guitar lick must have seen these guys at least several times before, or else watched religiously the recording of their set at the The Windmill for continued reference. Newest single ‘Sunglasses’ goes down especially well, the centrepiece of the song being a chromatic run through chords that should never be seen together and yet draw you in, one beat at a time, until you feel as though you are falling too. Just as the ground appears to swallow you up, the beat switches, and we’re grooving along, one step at a time, with the saxophones turning you sideways, and as we’re told that the ‘Cars go beep, beep’ we hear them too.

Beep beep beep! We’re back to life and this is the constant tension between frantic mayhem and deep calm solitude I made reference to earlier. This feeling of being caught in the middle is entirely engaging and it made a set lasting just around an hour fly by in no time at all. I didn’t notice the crush of bodies that surrounded me, nor the elbows jabbing into my ribs. I was swallowed entirely by the sonic onslaught and I cannot wait to get back to the world of Black Country, New Road, where I too can be invisible – yet this time without the sunglasses on.

Review & Photograph by Alexander Sarychkin

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