(Most of) black midi is back with a PURRRPOSSE. The guitar-toting frontflip extraordinaire Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin is taking a break for a little bit to focus on his mental health, but the band is pretty much their chaotic selves. Everything they've presented on 2019's amazing "Schlagenheim" is accounted for on "Cavalcade". Their complex math rock tendencies combined with their noisy, chaotic exterior, not to mention the amazing chemistry and technical skill (especially Morgan Simpson on the kit... holy shit) is exactly why they got so much traction in the first place! But this time, they've hired a saxophone player and a piano player to add to their seemingly unending supply of pure chaos, making up an almost full-on jazzy(avant)-prog sound that proves this scene shouldn’t just be classified as post-punk anymore.
What the fuck is this band?!
The madness begins with "John L" and, in true black midi fashion, it only throws at you a fraction of what "Cavalcade" has to offer. The inferno of riffs, horn, key and string embellishments, the orgasmically (this is probably the last time I'll throw this word in your face for the remainder of my time on this site... probably) bonkers compositions, the lyrics that detail a group of cult members disobeying their leader, it's black midi showing off capabilities we haven't seen proven by them before and I'm fucking amazed by it! "Marlene Dietrich"... this was made by black midi?! This track goes for a bossa nova-tinged lounge style where Geordie Greep's vocals shine more melodically and passionately in a way I haven't heard on their last record! I ADORE the way he sounds on this record!
"Chondromalcia Patella" breaks your knees (and your bussy) with unrelenting riffs and hard "Bm" chords that call back to THAT TRACK! The outro is also fucking insane! Cameron Picton takes over vocal duties for "Slow" and "Diamond Stuff". "Slow" is a highly atmospheric cut that shows the best in the band's compositional talents. The repeating riffs become more and more grandiose and intense as the track goes on. Meanwhile, "Diamond Stuff" is another beautiful cut with Radiohead-esque guitar plucking that blossoms towards the end with gorgeous vocal harmonies.
"Dethroned" makes up for the weaker vocal mixing by being a groovy highlight punctuated with a fantastic bassline. "Hogwash and Balderdash" is an almost Primus-y cut that punches you square in the facedick with its increasingly brutal and technical riffs and constant change-ups of instruments in the course of its 2-and-a-half-minute runtime.
By far the highlight of this, and probably the best black midi track yet is "Ascending Forth". This pun turned transcendental 10-minute giant of a song showcases more of Greep's intimate vocal performances that shimmer and shine on top of a gently-plucked acoustic guitar. It continues to swell with more guitars, strings and horns into the mix before reaching a satisfying cinematic climax. Probably my favorite musical moment of the year so far!
Wow... they actually managed to outdo themselves on this one! Considering the fact that "Schlagenheim" was my second favorite album of 2019, I never thought they would achieve this but, alas, here's "Cavalcade"! This is an album that shows that black midi haven't run out of surprises! The slight nitpick I have with some of the mixing almost won't matter in the end because I keep getting distracted by how amazing this is! From the gorgeous compositions to the colorful production to the miraculous performances from the band, this is absolutely my favorite album of the year so far!
Can't wait to see them at The Sinclair in October!
Fav Tracks: Slow, Ascending Forth, John L, Dethroned, Diamond Stuff, Chondromalacia Patella, Marlene Dietrich
Least Fav Track: Hogwash and Balderdash (if I had to pick one)
|1||John L / 100|
|2||Marlene Dietrich / 100|
|3||Chondromalacia Patella / 100|
|4||Slow / 100|
|5||Diamond Stuff / 95|
|6||Dethroned / 100|
|7||Hogwash and Balderdash / 95|
|8||Ascending Forth / 100|