Our track of the week this week is Opus by Black Country, New Road from their debut album ‘For The First Time’, released 5th February.
Following a sparse string of releases from the past two years, English experimental post-punk band Black Country, New Road, have finally blessed us with their debut album. Originally a six piece, the band added one more member to become a septet in 2019 and are well known for their vibrant live shows, gaining them dedicated fans even without much online presence. The album was recorded just before the first UK lockdown and yet the themes of teenage angst throughout seem to resonate more than ever with so many of us stuck in our hometowns, reverted to a perpetual state of being 17 again. Their lyrics are rich with references to pop culture (a Phoebe Bridgers lyric features on ‘Athens, France’), the band’s own history, and humorous digs at themselves (“the worlds second best slint tribute act”), and their sound takes influence from a wide range of genres, continually pushing their own boundaries.
Opus is the final song on the album and what an incredible closer they chose. The track is an absolute rollercoaster - building into a frenzy within the first two minutes before calming down for guitarist & singer Isaac Wood’s deep, haunting vocals (Pitchfork describe them as “like Nick Cave if he read Twitter instead of the Bible”). This cycle repeats throughout, with high energy, multi instrument interludes between each verse, as Wood’s vocals build toward the angsty, punchy outro (“I guess I’m a little bit late to the party / now everybody’s coming up / I guess I should’ve had something else to say”). The band themselves say it was recorded at a highly emotional time and was born out of a desire to build a new musical relationship with the world, and with each other.
This song got us all completely hyped at our meeting and ‘For The First Time’ has been in frequent rotation with our members. We hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!
Our other favourite track this week was Bajkal by 1988, Kacha, and Margaret, a Polish bop brought in by our team member Natalia. Unfortunately I don’t understand any Polish, so I didn’t have any information or opinion to impart on you all about the track. However, we all absolutely loved it and I highly recommend checking that one out as well!