Single Review: Black midi – Chondromalacia Patella

Are Black Midi the new King Crimson? Well this song goes some way towards answering that question in the affirmative. Experimental guitar led instrumental sections that do sound like a cross between Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, at times mellow jazz rock, and others frenetic atonal bursts of noise interspersed with mumbled half spoken, half shouted vocals. It’s almost becoming a cliché for them, despite them not being around that long.

The guitar opening sounding like Cardiacs “Fiery Gun Hand”/XTC “Wake Up” syncopation which leads into a jumpy coffee infused twitchy rhythm straight from the early 80’s  Factory stable mates Durutti Column/A Certain Ratio before going all Elephant Talk/At The Drive-In, with precision lolloping drumming from Morgan Simpson. Then it falls into the verses all African inspired Discipline era Fripp style pickery dickery with some understated and lovely jazz piano chords and muted trumpet…Nice! The song is apparently about a knee injury suffered by one of the band while out running (the complaint is known as runner’s knee) but the only words I can make out are something about ‘air passing through’ and ‘an empty shell’. The song’s loud/quiet/loud sections work really well…with plenty of dynamism and a sense of important urgency.

It’s exciting and dangerous and cool. It even has a guitar wig out at the end. What’s not to like. Dance yourself dizzy folks. The charts just simply rarely get better than this, so let’s buy it and get this fucker to number 1.

“Chondromalacia Patella” is taken from black midi’s new album Cavalcade, out now on Rough Trade Records – order on vinyl, CD or digital download via Bandcamp.

Find out more on Black Midi’s official website.

Review by Andrew Wood

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