Reviews

Black Country, New Road “Live at Bush Hall” Album Review

Live at Bush Hall

Black Country, New Road

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Date: 24 Mar, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 9
  • ℗ 2023 Ninja Tune

Black Country, New Road &Quot;Live At Bush Hall&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 1, 2024

Although Isaac Wood left the group in 2022 to focus on his mental health, the UK indie band Black Country, New Road, derived from the group Nervous Conditions, have come back together. Given how distinctive Wood was as a vocalist—airy but melancholy, jaded but romantic—this adjustment is not minor, but the six-piece demonstrates on this live record how extremely elastic they are.

They decided to write entirely new music for this new album rather than performing their beloved first two albums, both UK Top 5 hits, on tour in 2022 without him.

This new music was recorded over three nights in London’s Bush Hall. Bassist Taylor Hyde, saxophonist Lewis Evans, and keyboardist May Kershaw now alternate taking the lead vocals. Indeed, This band has a great depth of talent.

Album Art

Black Country, New Road &Quot;Live At Bush Hall&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 1, 2024

The album art is a jigsaw puzzle with the finished image of a Hall and an orderly carrying a stack of chairs across the room. As it is known, Jigsaws isn’t completed until the last piece is put in the right place, and the band’s main idea here will hint at their unity as they insinuate that they are complete with each other in a reference that will include the absence of their key vocalist over the last two albums in this project and how much they value him.

Tracks And Features

On the album’s nine songs, Whether in songs that are undoubtedly about Wood the chorus of “Up Song” says, “Look at what we created together / BCNR, friends forever!” or those about love breakups, the mood is valedictory but buoyant, which inevitably feel like farewells to their bandmate. Lewis Evans, a saxophonist, sings, “We built something to be proud of,” in the tune “The Wrong Trousers,” whose upward-striding cadences strangely resemble “My Way.”

Releasing this material as a live album is a virtue – the audience’s roar after the absurdly pretty “Turbines/Pigs” has a thrilling note of disbelief.

‘Turbines/Pigs’, which clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, is simply stunning, where Kershaw’s vocals first dance around twinkling pianos and then explode with a full band instrumental. The final 30 seconds of the recording are dedicated to the crowd’s celebrations, and deservedly so.

The lyrics are now more straightforward in comparison to Wood’s surrealist encounters, even though two tracks performed by May Kershaw transport us to a fantasy World; “Turbines/Pigs” is a witchy quest stretched across a 10-minute piano waltz, and “The Boy” is a three-chapter tale about woodland creatures.

“Dancers,” the finest of Tyler Hyde’s five excellent songs, will soon be a popular sing-along. Tyler Hyde’s voice can cover a broad range of emotional ground; it vibrates and can even sound frightened at times, but it always manages to stay sure-footed and nimble. Hyde sings the outstanding “Dancers,” which has an ending that repeats anthemically, “dancers stand very still on the stage,” as keys jingle and Ellery’s fiddle trembles in unison.

While “I Won’t Always Love You” shares Radiohead’s sonic design, “The Boy” moves with the same tenacity as anything on Arcade Fire’s “Funeral.” The band refers to these 2022 sets as “works-in-progress” and claims that none of its members are particular about the songs, a claim that is fortunately not belied by this release.

The repetitive Reich-style woodwind motifs, the feeling of musical theatre, and the thrilling tightness and skill of this peculiar little chamber orchestra are just a few of the Wood-era elements that are still present. One could draw indie-music parallels to early Arcade Fire’s pomp and ragged optimism, recent Mitski’s drama, or Joanna Newsom’s stately mysticism, but none of them would adequately describe an evolving and truly unique band.

Tracklist

NO

TITLE

TIME

1 Up Song 4:20
2 The Boy 6:16
3 I Won’t Always Love You 4:10
4 Across The Pond Friend 3:45
5 Laughing Song 5:33
6 The Wrong Trousers 4:06
7 Turbines/Pigs 9:46
8 Dancers 5:04
9 Up Song (Reprise) 3:55

Album Summary

The setting of “Live At Bush Hall” may imply that some sort of miraculous rebirth is in order, but what actually comes across is a group of friends sticking by one another no matter what. Therefore, “Live At Bush Hall” provides an exceptional window into a band in transition, one that is willing to move forward and not let obstacles get in the way of what they enjoy doing most. They are a group that is persistently humble and prepared to face whatever lies ahead, certain that they are unbeatable as a whole. It does create the impression that things will get better.

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