Saturday, November 14, 2020

Black Country, New Road - ‘Science Fair’ Single Review

Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Black Country, New Road’s music is the fact they have generated so much interest with only two singles released. The band have had much attention through regular airplay on Radio 6, and sparse but fervently written interviews from a variety of music publications. Their last single ‘Sunglasses’, was released way back in summer of 2019, and brought them a popularity and exposure unusual for such an experimental band.

The song introduced many to the band's grand, almost orchestral approach to the dark themes and emotions reflected in Isaac Wood’s paranoid vocals, and wry lyrics.

'Science Fair’ is an explosively chaotic track, but contains the tight instrumentation and storytelling BC, NR have mastered over the last couple of years playing together. Wood begins to recount a tale of attending a science fair, meeting a girl, and quickly descending into madness as self doubt and regret creep in.

There’s some direct social commentary as usual, with Wood’s character moving “...from one micro-influencer to another.”, and even a funny reference to Slint which shows the band is very much aware of its labels and comparisons in the wider world.

The end of the track is the most gripping, sweeping you along in a tidal wave of growling guitars and off kilter brass. Their abnormal time signature is what makes BC, NR so refreshing to listen to - it’s hard to predict where the band might head next in the midst of a song. 

In a sense, ‘Science Fair’ is the biggest statement the band has made so far. It marks a re-emergence after a mysterious absence, and shows them doubling down on a sound that is entirely their own. Appearing alongside the two previous singles on the band’s upcoming long awaited debut LP ‘For The First Time’, BC, NR are staking their claim on the musical landscape. It’s black country out there.

- Huwen Edwards


Photos by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

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