Album of the Week: Black Country, New Road | For the first time

Coming late to this party, UK-based Black Country, New Road’s stunning debut, For the first time from February of this year, is a wild ride through all manner of musical genres, landing somewhere in between and distinctly infectious.

The band is your non-traditional, traditional, seven-piece featuring the usual suspects — vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums — plus saxophone and violin and the terrain covered includes klezmer, math rock, post-punk, with splashes of minimalism and free jazz for good measure. No single malt here, we’re talking cocktail hour and the kind of mix that sneaks up on you with great tastes that ends up being much stronger than it first appears.

The band:

Isaac Wood – vocals, guitar
Tyler Hyde – bass guitar
Lewis Evans – saxophone
Georgia Ellery – violin, viola
May Kershaw – keyboards
Charlie Wayne – drums
Luke Mark – guitar

The shortest of six tracks, “Track X”, is 4:44 with the rest taking over 6 minutes to fully form yet nothing sounds unnecessarily extended or jammy with words that are nicely twisted around uncomfortable ideas, memories, and decay — I become her father / And complain of mediocre theatre in the daytime / And ice in single malt whiskey at night.

“We wanted it to sound exactly how we love to sound live,” says saxophonist Lewis Evans.

Clocking in overall at 40 minutes, For the first time has been on extended play since our first date and I see a very bright future ahead. More, please.