Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2022 Ratings: #1 / 338
User Score
2022 Ratings: #1
Liked by 591 people
Sign In to rate and review

CRITIC REVIEWS

100
musicOMH
Black Country, New Road’s second album finds the seven-piece ensemble subtly evolving their experimental post-punk in a way that suggests they are starting to take themselves more seriously.
100
Gigwise
In the most fantastic way, the tracks are a collection of surreal oddities that clatter, jangle and pounce on you without ever sounding out of place.
100
RIOT

Released exactly a year after their momentous debut, Ant From Up There sees Black Country, New Road grow more concept-conscious within their sound.

100
NME

This future cult classic … packs accessible sounds without sacrificing the band's musical wizardry.

100
The Independent
A huge leap forward, headfirst into the unknown.
100
The Line of Best Fit

Contrary to For The First Time, this new offering is a truer parading of Black Country, New Road's vision: ornate, chamber pop with occasional midwest emo flairs dovetailing into devastating post-rock abysses that invert into domineering mountains of cathartic climaxes.

100
The Observer

Thankfully, music isn’t just about fun: it can be about creating remarkable soundworlds of baroque pop fantasias, and this band are outstanding at those.

90
Uncut
Post-rock chamber ensemble roar right back with emotionally maximalist opus.
90
Clash
More melodic and anthemic than ever, 'Ants From Up There' captures Black Country, New Road at a critically transformative juncture, creative juices well and truly pumping.
90
PopMatters
The bold sophomore album from the London experimentalists is a singular work rife with ambitious songwriting and sincere, sharply-observed emotions.
90
God Is in the TV
There’s less of a tendency to think that they’ve doffed their cap to the likes of Slint and Shellac on this record, and while I never thought the debut lacked confidence, it feels like this is the record on which they are coming into full bloom.
90
The Young Folks

Ants From Up There swerves expectations and represents a significant leap forward from their debut.

90
The Needle Drop

For the First Time definitely wasn't a fluke.

90
Spectrum Culture

Ants from Up There feels like the end result of a band that have gotten fully comfortable creating music with each other, to the degree where it’s unsurprising that they were able to make something this dense less than a year after an already-dense debut.

90
Spill Magazine

Ants From Up There is an incredible album.

88
Sputnikmusic
With the thematic coherence of a semi-conceptual art piece and the comfortable chemistry of a band finally growing into their sound, it's certainly the best album to come from this post-Brexit windmill-wave klezmer-core-whatever scene.
87
Beats Per Minute

Undoubtedly BCNR are studious music nerds, but in writing Ants they’ve pushed past their schooling and have created much more original ideas.

85
Northern Transmissions

Black Country, New Road manage to sound even more self-assured on Ants From Up There than on For the First Time.

85
Under The Radar

Ants From Up There takes the strands of sincerity that recontextualized the snark on their debut, For the First Time, and shines a stronger spotlight on them, softening the edges and bolstering their greater emphasis on matters of the heart with suitably grandiose instrumentation.

84
Pitchfork
The exceptional second album from the London group plays like a slow burn to a triumphant finale. Softer and more melodic, the band remains just as challenging and delightfully confounding as ever.
80
Mojo
The kings and queens of new British-rock take an exhilarating turn for the tuneful.
80
The Skinny

Black Country, New Road's second album Ants From Up There is a galloping, murmuring and exciting barrage of sounds and ideas

80
Dork
A phenomenal record, and excitingly, not just one for the already converted. ‘Ants From Up There’ will make everyone soar.
80
DIY
There’s a warmth that pervades the whole collection.
80
AllMusic

Black Country made a strong impression on their debut, but things become much more interesting with Ants from Up There.

80
Crack Magazine
This time with fewer tongue-in-cheek lyrics about telling someone you love them while watching black midi or performing in “the world’s second-best Slint tribute act”, and instead more soulful tenderness.
80
Record Collector
Unpredictable art-rockers' second takes a thrilling diversion.
78
Paste

If For the first time documented their beginnings, Ants From Up There is an obvious point of departure.

70
Exclaim!

On follow-up Ants from Up There, the pent up aggression that gave For the First Time its jagged shape has been largely smoothed away to reveal more gently curved, but equally peculiar topographies.

60
Loud and Quiet

In a twist, Ants From Up There is neither the stylistic overhaul hinted at by the group themselves, nor the logical next step; perhaps detrimentally, it’s largely more of the same.

Chode
100

Some nice ol' tunes to show to a small Victorian era child

BradTasteMusic
92

This album is beyond tragic. I went in not knowing what I was getting into, and wow this project is sad.

Every note, every space, every vocal is just strained and in pain. The only criticism I have to this project is it's so sad and in despair that I barely know what to do with it. It's so much for every track. I lost focus by the end due to how relentless this thing was.

Every song feels ambitious, well placed, and complete in its own way. It is a gorgeous listen that should not be written ... read more

Doublez
90

If "For The First Time" was already fantastic, "Ants From Up There" is even more so. This new adventure is a real music lesson, it concentrates all the humanity in 58 breathtaking minutes.

[normally I never put more than 89 for a new release, because I have to test the album against time, but I had to make an exception for this one]

First of all I would like to give my support to BCNR and to the former leader Isaac Wood who has just left the band recently, I hope that ... read more

melencholysumme
94

i'm way late to this review but here i am, this was a pretty depressing album like no one warned me about. i was already sad so by the end of it i was in tears, deserves to be at least nomination for album of the year (even tho i know its unlikely :/)

Kiforn
90

DECENT to strong 9.

Ants From Up there is a powerful record with some incredibly poignant instrumentation, lyricism, and vocals from the lead singer. While some tracks are much longer than necessary, the ideas are certainly present and the structure is impressive.

FAVS: Concorde, Good Will Hunting, Haldern, Basketball Shoes

Least FAVS: Snow Globes (still impressive - but drawn out too much)

wywy23747
98

its good album!!!!!! omg no way good album whiny lead singer weird instrumentals dumb stupid drums on snow globes its good album no way hahah

Purchasing Ants From Up There from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.
Advertisement

Track List

1Intro
0:54
86
2Chaos Space Marine
3:36
93
3Concorde
6:03
95
4Bread Song
6:21
93
5Good Will Hunting
4:57
92
6Haldern
5:05
92
7Mark’s Theme
2:47
89
8The Place Where He Inserted the Blade
7:13
97
9Snow Globes
9:13
93
10Basketball Shoes
12:37
96
Total Length: 58 minutes
Sign in to comment
1h
20h
21h
22h
22h
Advertisement


Added on: October 12, 2021