These songs brave tumult and tension, despite their patchwork qualities.
Mike Diver 2009
The best new albums are rarely those widely previewed, whose content is drip-fed into the public consciousness via a series of radio spots, magazine reviews and poster campaigns. Sure, these can be decent collections – but all but the most ignorant listener has seen (and heard) them coming several miles off. No, the best new albums are those that appear from nowhere, just a disc in a pile of other discs waiting its turn. Until you slip it in and wish you’d played it sooner.
Hello, then, to Black Feelings, a trio from Montreal whose modus operandi is nothing you’ve not heard before, assimilating and regurgitating as they do aspects of Liars, The Apes, Comets on Fire and post-punk outfits like PiL and This Heat. But that doesn’t matter, not in the slightest – the band’s handling of their chosen style is excellent, their songs rattling and rolling with intent and purpose while also braving tumult and tension, despite their patchwork qualities. They could split, crack, shatter; but underpinning everything is a solid backbone of drums and bass, coupled tightly and directing proceedings with a masterly control reminiscent of the moorings that keep the likes of Black Mountain tethered, for all their interstellar ambition.
The majestic Hidden Dance rollicks with real vigour, percussive runs cycled into repetition that soon has the head nodding along, oblivious to environment (yes, you will fall under this spell at the bus stop, waiting at the doctors, scouring Poundland for last-minute stocking-fillers, etc). Gails opens like a ritual to revive some long-forgotten rock’n’roll spirit from an ether only these musicians can tap into, all moans and chants, synth pulsations, drone and eerie ambience. The low end rumbles with menace, the surface oscillations hypnotic. Golden Children and Eternal Bad Trip are more conventional of structure; but everything being relative, they’re as out there as U2 deciding to make their next LP a concept piece on the life (so far) of Dara Ó Briain.
Detached, compositionally and atmospherically, from the mulch of everyday rock, Black Feelings will hopefully push on from this release to wider audiences. Leg-up assistance from bookers of a more discerning persuasion would absolutely help them on their way, but this album suggests its makers will continue on their course whatever obstacles in their path. The way around is always over, higher and higher. And that’s where they want to take you.