Electrical guitars, bristling or smoldering, largely outlined the band’s 2021 debut album, “For the First Time”; paying homage to the post-punk of Slint and the Fall, Wooden talk-sang by most of the songs. On “Ants From Up There,” he normally turns to melody as an alternative, whereas the band toys with chamber-pop and extra pastoral sounds. It dials again the guitar distortion and drumbeats and brings acoustic devices into the foreground; it invokes folk-rock, parlor songs and waltzes. The brand new songs are nonetheless plaints and puzzles, simply quieter ones (a minimum of more often than not).
“Chaos House Marine” opens with one thing like a conventional fiddle tune, pausing for prospers by particular person gamers: trills, plinks, hoots, fast runs. Wooden sings, dramatically however obliquely, about battle, crusing, “turning into a worm” and coming residence. The band may very well be a pit orchestra for a surreal operetta, dropping right into a stately half time for a finale that concludes with Wooden declaiming, “Billie Eilish fashion/Concorde will fly/Ignore the opening I’ve dug once more.”
These verbal nuggets recur, equally enigmatically, in different songs on the album. An abject love music, “Haldern,” begins with “Ignore the opening I’ve dug once more” and goes on, by rippling Minimalist patterns, a wrenching crescendo and a last, brittle scaling down, to reward “the one one I’ve identified/Who broke the world so quietly.” There’s a waltz referred to as “Concorde” that addresses somebody named Concorde as a lifelong companion, lover or apparition. And the album’s nearer, “Basketball Footwear,” open with Wooden singing, “Concorde flies in my room/Tears the home to shreds.”
Stretching previous 12 minutes, “Basketball Shoes” strikes by elegy, march, a quasi-jig, near-stillness, large tolling unisons and a finale that’s equal components triumph and despair; it additionally tucks within the musical motif that began the album in “Intro.” All through “Ants From Up Right here,” and thru the course of each music, Black Nation, New Highway checks and reinvents itself, creating music that sounds each intricately plotted and precarious. Simply how precarious wasn’t clear till Wooden left the band.
Black Nation, New Highway
“Ants From Up There”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/07/arts/music/black-country-new-road-ants-from-up-there-review.html Black Nation, New Highway’s Perilous Triumph