Stream Black Country, New Road’s Inspired Career Reboot Live At Bush Hall

Stream Black Country, New Road’s Inspired Career Reboot Live At Bush Hall

In early 2022, just a week before the release of their magnificent sophomore album Ants From Up There, Black Country, New Road frontman Isaac Wood left the band, citing anxiety and mental health concerns. His six bandmates carried on; they canceled their tour dates, spent a few months writing new music, and eventually took those fresh songs on tour. Those shows were revelatory, and now one of them has been immortalized in album form.

Upon Wood’s exit, BC,NR didn’t completely reinvent their ambitious art-rock sound. But Wood was a huge personality, a distinctive vocalist who took huge lyrical swings, his rants and raves about heartbreak strewn with pop culture references. Without him as a center of gravity, the group settled in as more of a collective in the spirit of the 2000s blog-rock they’d already been mining for inspiration, with various bandmates contributing songs and rotating on lead vocals. When I caught Black Country live at Desert Daze last year, I was amazed at how gracefully they’d pulled off the transition and how dynamic these quirky new songs could be. As I wrote at the time, “The new songs remind me of a range of artful and precious 2000s blog favorites: the anxiously giddy group singalongs of Los Campesinos!, the twee orchestrations of Architecture In Helsinki, the Renaissance faire splendor of Joanna Newsom. Their music can be grandiose, but they play it with a DIY scrappiness and a familial spirit.”

Last month the band released Live At Bush Hall, a concert film recorded in London, documenting this new era of BC,NR. Now that same set has been released as a live album. It’s essentially the third Black Country, New Road LP — nine completely unreleased songs, performed with power and captured with clarity. Given the way they’ve chosen to release this material, I wouldn’t be surprised if they move on to a completely new batch of songs on their next studio album. And if that’s the case, Live At Bush Hall is a spectacular way to preserve this phase of the band’s history. Listen below.

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