Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Black Box Revelation - Set Your Head on Fire (T for Tunes 2009)

I may have said this before but Jack White has a lot to answer for. Talent like yours Jack should be harnessed for the greater good. That garage punk lo-fi sensibility he had that became the central conceit of the White Stripes, that one guitar and one drumkit attitude, that punka DIY mentality. So enter Black Box Revelation. Admittedly, they’ve been knocking about for a while with their one guitar one drumkit squawl of noise and blues-rock thrashing. The fuzz pedals are on; the distortion is static-y; the drumming forearms are like Popeye’s, bulbous lobster limbs. So yes, Belgian rock group Black Box Revelation, hello.

We reviewed their EP a few months ago and while the musicianship was pretty damn impressive, felt that it was ultimately unstructured jamming, no hint of songs and sometimes excluding the audience from the navel-gazing. ‘I Think I Like You’ is a storming opener, all bluster and pomp, firmly straddling the noodling punk blues horse with a large cock and massive cojones. By the time ‘Gravity Blues’ arrives you realise that there’s no point listening to the ridiculous lyrics, they’re filler, just a vocal noise to pad out the songs before they hit noodle-solo. ‘Stand Your Ground’ features the immortal advice ‘I got to beat this to see this through.’ Soundbites and snapshots of vaguely political rhetoric are crooner before the guitars get to do their noisy bit. There are two moods to the album, waiting for the chorus and the chorus which involves some admittedly impressive thrashing of the ol axe. It’s kinda empty and boring and never really drawns you in. The vaguely political utterances distract too much. The desperation to sound LOUD and BIG and THRASHING grates after a bit. Jack White, I lay this noodling boredom firmly at your door sir.


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