Black Country, New Road - For the first time
Critic Score
Based on 27 reviews
2021 Ratings: #8 / 108
User Score
2021 Ratings: #1
Liked by 135 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Loud and Quiet

For The First Time comes off as a wildly successful experiment and, much like Slint, it’s easy to wonder if Black Country, New Road will ever make anything remotely similar ever again.

100
NME

Their peak may be years away yet, but this is still some of the most exciting music you’ll hear until then; I’m not sure what more you could ask of a debut.

100
The Observer
Showing a joyful disregard for genre, this remarkably biodiverse seven-piece take the rock band format and soar with it.
100
Evening Standard

The album packs in a career’s worth of ideas and suggests this band could go on to become something even more special.

90
Uncut
Restless, inventive, droll and often searingly intense, Black Country, New Road go about their business with real purpose.
90
The Line of Best Fit

For The First Time is ferocious and endlessly intelligent, highly considered and wildly improvised, eked out with bristling tension and set alight with a burning intensity and a knowing smile.

90
Clash

A product of its time, it will unsettle and confuse you, and there are even moments that feel poignant. That is why they will be remembered as an important band, and this album a significant milestone in modern guitar music.

90
Beats Per Minute
With their bizarrely experimental guitar music and a poetic flair that speaks to Gen-Z, Black Country, New Road have also proven that they are no longer the next Slint or, in Wood’s own words, “the world’s second-best Slint tribute act.” Instead, they have made a name for themselves with a record that may very well be “the absolute pinnacle of British engineering.”
90
PopMatters

Black Country, New Road show us what a "rock band" or "rock outfit" can achieve on For the First Time. For those bands labeled as experimental, we now have an expectation and a new benchmark.

90
The Young Folks

For the first time is a freewheeling, experimental opus that sees Black Country, New Road firmly planting their flag down in the music scene.

86
GIGsoup

An early contender for album of the year and surely a high water mark for the upcoming decade. The band deftly bottles middle class malaise with electrifying results, ensuring that For The First Time will certainly stay with you if you take the plunge.

85
Northern Transmissions

The album, recorded live over six days with My Bloody Valentine producer Andy Savours, captures the band in their present moment, tuned up after a year of extensive touring.

80
Mojo

The young seven-piece have ... progressed at warp-speed, here passing the full-length test with confidence.

80
Gigwise

As captivating as it is striking, For The First Time is a thrilling glimpse into the world of Black Country, New Road: true storytellers who have captured the passion and intensity of our cynical times.

80
Exclaim!

For the first time isn't just anxious 22-year-olds making music for other anxious 22-year-olds; it's a raw reflection of the society we've become and the society what we're growing into.

80
musicOMH

Black Country, New Road are no gods, but this inventive and likeable album should earn them a million or so disciples.

80
The Needle Drop

Rock debuts as daring as For the First Time are a rarity.

80
Spectrum Culture

The debut album by the seven-piece band from London is the sound of Black Country, New Road working to navigate expectations and how to exist as an act built on references.

75
Paste

Where their peers might suddenly send out a head-spinning blast of guitar noise, Black Country, New Road thrive in slower tension and release.

75
Under The Radar

For its dearth of new material, the refinements displayed only add to For the first time’s power. Leaving what comes in the next three years more the thing to ponder.

74
Sputnikmusic

They delivered neither a classic nor an embarrassing flop that revealed them as a flavour-of-the-week fancy, but just a pretty good album with room to improve.

74
Pitchfork
Anchored by inquisitive musicianship and the mercurial vocals of Isaac Wood, the London-based group’s debut creates a post-punk haven for unfiltered pretension and paranoia.
70
The Forty-Five

It would be very easy to dismiss Black Country, New Road as a wanky student poetry band ... Yet it’s equally easy to read the band as a celebration of the richness of culture beyond British borders, and an argument for the provision of affordable music education and resources for young people.

70
AllMusic

Occasionally the vocals (and the constant name-dropping) become overbearing, but the musicianship is strong and adventurous, taking familiar instrumentation in unexpected directions, and Black Country, New Road are undeniably original.

60
Dork
There’s a whole lot going on on this carefree debut album . . . The many devotees they’ve captured so far might be enraptured by their debut's wild sonic abandon while others may just think ‘What a racket?’. Either way, Black Country, New Road are making an impression.
60
DIY

At times, the outfit as a whole feel less than the sum of their parts.

40
The Independent
Black Country, New Road’s debut feels like a letdown after the early hype.
Chode
100
“If we could get as big as it could be possible for a band like us to be big, then that would be good. The Next Arcade Fire, that’s the goal.”

We live in a world where, at any moment, everything could be instantaneously ripped away from you. Whether this is a position in power or a small job as an intern, whether it's the simplest mistake or the result of pressure building up over a prolonged period of time, this is something that is bound to happen for some. Black Country, ... read more
August
100
Dear The Independent:

Fuck you

Sincerely,
August
Doublez
87
Not only will For the First Time easily become a favorite for the 2021 rankings, but this treasure has the potential to become a benchmark for the future. In other words, this is not a day like any other. Black Country New Road is the symbol of these new groups of genius who point the finger at the misdeeds of today's society, while redrawing new musical contours, as if they were invested with a mission to care for the future.

It's fascinating how Black Country New Road brings out something ... read more
CLJesse
100
“I met her accidentally
It was at the Cambridge Science Fair
And she was so impressed I could make so many things catch on fire.”

Anxiety:

The predator that is ever growing and only gets stronger over time if left unkempt. Does it hunt you? Are you the prey?

For the First Time *is* that beast. It *is* the stress. It is the building of the calm until the thunderous storm. You begin in Athens, but there is a flood that knocks you away. Crashing waves of a tsunami flings your body ... read more
Rater
86
Black Country, New Road have been quite an anomaly within the industry leading up to their debut album. Despite only originating in 2018, deriving from a malfunctioning act that was broken apart due to allegations, and only possessing a very compact catalog, composed of a mere collection of 4 singles, they have acquired a sizeable following, especially within a rather particular subsection of music listeners. This swiftly obtained fan base is only merited, as they have proceeded cautiously into ... read more
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Track List

  1. Instrumental
  2. Athens, France
  3. Science Fair
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Track X
  6. Opus
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Added on: October 27, 2020