Review: Black Country, New Road – ‘Chaos Space Marine’

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A change of pace

The post-punk group introduce their new sound with this tease for their sophomore album.

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The recent announcement of an upcoming second record from popular British post-punk band Black Country, New Road came as a huge surprise that swept over the majority of music forums incredibly quickly, seeing as before the release of their debut LP For The First Time (notably one of the greatest albums of the year, if not *the* greatest) they had been quite happy to hold their fans on tenterhooks for years, releasing singles from the 2021 album since as early as January 2019.

And so, the distance that this new single, ‘Chaos Space Marine’, has from the group’s other work is also very surprising given the little time taken between records. Moving away from the hard rock, the heavy guitar riffs and the chaotic saxophone yelps that personified For The First Time, ‘Chaos Space Marine’ appears to take from an entirely different pool of influences.

Opening with piano playing, which sounds straight off of a YouTube upload of a silent short film, the track gradually builds to a very Bowie-esque hook (I presume that the mention of a ‘Space Marine’ in the title has a lot to do with Bowie’s classic ‘Starman’) with an angelic choir and much brighter tone than For The First Time, which had themes of industrialisation and fears of global warming.

It’s a fascinating single, and maybe the perfect one for Black Country, New Road to release as it teases their upcoming sophomore record beautifully, prompting their fans to start theorising about the new direction that the band may follow. The change in sound is surprising, but undoubtedly welcomed.

‘Chaos Space Marine’ was released via Ninja Tune. Listen to it on YouTube below:

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