The Blinders – one of our great musical hopes. The band who provide the soundtrack to the political detritus and global despair with a message that mirrors the mood of a nation. How have they band fared in following up the explosive Colombia?
Release Date: 17th July 2020
Label: Modern Sky UK
Format: DL / CD / vinyl
Those dystopian visions of the last album were indeed frightening. Especially played out at great volume in packed clubs bathed in red light with vast shadows cast upon the walls. You could sense the apocalypse.
Times are no better. Consequently, we’re faced with an album taking its title from a song that involves a “stereotypical lone psychopath” inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho. One that plots a course of anger, aggression, cynicism and despair via Thomas Haywood’s now-familiar desperation often delivered in a throat-ripping diatribe
Indeed, they are a band of our times. Confidently following their own path, now and again rubbing elbows with Idles on brief sidesteps, a tolling gives way to the ominous Something Wicked This Way Comes.
The opening gambit of “I am a gentleman of considerable charm and violence” bodes well for the next series of Peaky Blinders as well as nudging those of us with enough years to recall Jagger’s “man of wealth and taste“; someone who isn’t too far from the thoughts and who appears in due course.
Never too far from the irrepressible Glitter Band stomp that they made their own on Brave New World and Rat In A Cage, Forty Days And Forty Nights hammers home the message, drums alternating between providing a low rumble and a violent outburst in the chorus.
Morricone style guitar lines in I Want Gold (has anyone else rhymed ‘money’ with ‘Bugs Bunny’?) and then namechecking Bowie and the Norfolk Broads on Circle Song. One that’s as musically schmaltzy and bluesy as it gets before providing a spoken word interlude on…Interlude. There’s a clear soundtrack element to an album that could slip effortlessly into arthouse film noir.
At the business end, we get a six-minute Black Glass whose moods shift from brooding and dense to all-out psych fest. Almost two songs in one linked by a riff that’s a close cousin to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain.
The acoustic outro of This Decade – at times sounding uncannily Dylan-like in lines such as”when the mountain falls into the ocean and the cave into the sea” – pays an unexpected debt to the bard. It also highlights a world weariness beyond their years.
The fantasies do their job of fanning the flames and inciting thoughts of what sort of world our children are growing up in. The only thing missing is the sneering declaration that there’s no future. With hindsight, back in ’77 there was. Maybe we’ll need to look back in another couple of decades’ time to see if there was a future beyond ’20.
It may be a bleak vision, but there are glimpses of humour and optimism and fragments of hope. A sinister masterpiece. Be prepared for a dark ride.
Listen to Forty Days And Forty Nights here: