8.9 - Phenomenal
Wowzers. Best album of 2021 so far right here fellas.
Back Country, New Road is a band originally formed in London, and their unique style has caught the eyes of many. So their debut release, For the first time, has been hyped for quite a while, as this album’s rollout has been quite odd. There were 4 singles that were released for this thing (that I will get to later in the review), and I saw nothing but praise. I listened to 2 of them and I was absolutely blown away, and my personal anticipation for this release grew and grew. And now, it is finally out, and god damn. It was worth the wait.
For the first time can be described with one word, mesmerizing. This thing is absolutely gorgeous and so well done throughout. Firstly, I NEED to talk about how this thing sounds. It’s just immaculate. Each track has this rising tension, similar to a track from Slint, that is immediately attention grabbing, while having an absolutely excellent climax. Opus is a great example of this, being a long winded 8 minute track that just keeps building and building to a mind-boggling degree, or Instrumental, a great opener which perfectly sets up the atmosphere of the listen. The pacing on each song is just so good, I cannot praise it enough. Everything on here sounds so crisp and natural, like the drums on Sunglasses, the guitars on Athens, France, the violin on Science Fair, or the saxophone on Track X. It’s sort of hard to describe how For the first time sounds, but I know that it’s consistently excellent.
In terms of songwriting, this album has a ton of clever lyrics that are extremely memorable, relatable, and weirdly nostalgic. There are lots of funny lines that catch you off guard in a really refreshing way, with a really dramatic delivery that is honestly quite hilarious. One big stand out in terms of this is the excellent Science Fair which I listened to before the album’s release, telling the story of an embarrassing time at well, a science fair. With it’s serious delivery and rising tension, this one is an absolute treat. Another standout for songwriting is the monster of a track that is Sunglasses, which is weirdly a track about tennis, even if it might have some darker undertones. Oh yea, and vocally, Issac Wood (the vocalist) does an outstanding job at gripping the listener and keeping them invested, with him chaotic spoken word delivery sounding like a descent into madness. This album also has the gift of being extremely consistent throughout its 6 track span, being an extremely satisfying listen throughout that never fails to be enjoyable.
However, I do have some really tiny issues with it. One of them being, I wish this album was maybe a track or two longer, as it felt a little disappointing to only have 2 new tracks to look forward to even if I had only listened to half of the singles. I also feel like this won’t be an extremely replayable listen due to how long each track is, which is more of a personal nitpick. But overall, For the first time is an impeccable, extremely high quality, and a marvel of a debut listen front to back, and is an essential listen for lovers of spoken word or Slint. It absolutely deserves the praise thrown towards it’s way, being the best album of the year so far. It’s definitely going to be topping many year end lists I can assure you that.
Best tracks: Instrumental, Athens, France, Science Fair (fav), Sunglasses, Opus
Least fav: n/a, but if I had to choose I would definitely put Track X here