Chicago crew Implodes’ first official full-length Black Earth’s a 43-minute collection of densely atmospheric star-melting guitar scrawl, acoustic interludes, and gentler drone. It’s the kind of heady nighttime psychedelia that has a way of feeling truly space-stretching and mind-altering, like how Flying Saucer Attack could create and then maintain those private shadowy landscapes. At times these songs feels more dire or dirge-like — the beautiful riverside sunset on the cover comes with a woman wielding a knife — but each of the 11 tracks is beautifully melodic. Most are patiently catchy, darkly propulsive. Others oddly upbeat. There’s a fragility even when the lite cascade of “White Window”‘s eclipsed by the distorted echo of “Screech Owl” or harsher half-speed sludge of “Song For Fucking Damon II (Trap Door).” It’s pop music buried in shimmering murk and it feels way more refined than a “debut” should sound. It’s a record that gets stronger on repeat listens. Black Earth is the name of the record, but Implodes also offer a description of a place called “Black Earth,” a spot you might want to locate for your first listen:
Black Earth is a haunted and magical place. There’s an old barn there with many rooms and a silo that’s filled with dead insects. Outside there’s a big wood pile filled with spider webs that probably has black widows living in it. There are mysterious plants growing everywhere. At night, when the air is crisp and clean, you can lie on your back by the fire and look up at the stars and listen to the animals and insects making their music.
Read that again with the whispered guitar rager “Marker” on repeat.
01 “Open The Door”
03 “White Window”
04 “Screech Owl”
08 “Experiential Report”
09 “Song for Fucking Damon II (Trap Door)”
10 “Down Time”
11 “Hands On The Rail”
Black Earth is out 4/20 via Kranky.