Recently a prominent British newspaper ran a piece on the eternal influence of Joy Division, the feted quartet from an industrially grim 1970’s Northern England. Unaware of the legacy they were about to create, they escaped dead end jobs and the tourniquet of social immobility by forming a band and recording Unknown Pleasures, a debut that was a rare transcension beyond it’s source forms.
The argument runs however that the Joy Division brand – and it is now undoubtedly that – has achived a much greater cache in this century than the last. black midi are also a quartet, but rather than being faced with the prospect of wage slavery each of it’s members had tuition at the Brit School, a sort of Fame Academy with some very high profile alumni.
Schlangenheim is their first album and sounds like a grab bag of influences thrown down a long flight of stairs, from post rock to hardcore, jazz, country and dessicated funk. In places it’s almost indescribably weird, as on single bmbmbm, with singer Geordie Greep’s delivery often veering between high camp, controlled mania and just plain bonkers.
Sitting in the present, it’s impossible to say whether Schlangenheim is the beginning of something new like Unknown Pleasures, or just some anarchic blip in what is becoming an increasingly homogeneous art form. This general malaise however means that it’s more important than ever that music continues to generate public opinion – and black midi and this record will certainly do that.
You can read the full review here.