Black Country, New Road’s debut album For the First Time has been named Rough Trade’s album of the month for February. It’s a tremendous honor for a first album, and it’s well-deserved. The young band have already achieved more in their debut than most groups do over the course of their entire existence. The seven members have forged a sound that defies categorization. There is no genre that fits Black Country, New Road, a lucky thing indeed, because it has forced them to create their own.
For the First Time is a music nerd’s delight, a veritable 7th heaven of listening pleasures. It’s the kind of album that you listen to ten times all the way through on the first day of having it in your possession. You’ll want to unpack the dense, layered sounds, to figure out exactly what’s being said in each lyric, to identify every instrument and every influence.
Each one of the six tracks on the album is stellar, but Sunglasses is my favorite, segueing between mellow rhythms and full-out punk screaming, then (somehow) sliding smoothly into emotional descriptions of the irritations and fetters of relationships and life within a family, and through it all the meditation, gripped like a life-line: “I am invincible in these sunglasses…” It inspires an odd mixture of elation and chills, and the need to share it with someone else immediately. In other words, it’s on its way to being a classic.
Black Country, New Road are an orchestra for the future, “the new classic”(al) for spaceships. On more than one level, it’s something we all need to listen to; it’s something we all need to hear.
You can find Black Country, New Road on Instagram @blackcountrynewroad, on Spotify and on Bandcamp.
Header Photo Credit: Max Grainger