black midi are truly a band ahead of their time. Their 2019 album Schlagenheim still remains as one of the loudest, most experimental and cohesive jazz/rock/punk albums in recent years, and they’ve already been an inspiration for so many up-and-coming groups. On their second studio album Cavalcade, they push their sound to new lengths and extremities, capturing an ideal balance between the chaotic and the melodic in their sound.
“John L” perfectly sets the tone for the entire album, and is an example of their wild experimentation. I can’t even begin to describe it, wild guitar-led compositions that are overpowering and cacophonous, yet there is so much colour and personality to it. Synths and strings add to the sonic madness, while Geordie Greep’s vocals spring out above the noise, bringing such incredible energy. It’s not all as hellish and wild throughout the album – there are more melodic moments such as “Marlene Dietrich” and “Diamond Gruff.” The former track is a sweet ballad with soulful vocals and percussion that are more angelic than everything, while the latter is a slow and more subdued track that focuses on slower, more melodic and atmospheric tonalities. My personal favourite on the album “Chondromalicia Paletta” also has more subdued moments, but is ultimately overtaken by an aggression and cacophony that is just so well composed and put together. The closer “Ascending Forth” is another exceptional track that combines acoustic guitar rhythms and soulful vocals to begin with, before exploding into this incredible jazz composition, with wailing saxophones and guitar leads that intertwine beautifully with each other, creating this duality in soft, atmospheric acoustic music, with more dynamic and rumbling energy that captures the essence of black midi’s incredible dense and compact music. The grandiose ending of that track is perfect too.
Cavalcade shows progression in black midi’s sound, with an album that combines frantic and heady energy with more subtle and melodic moments. It’s definitely an album to check out and support!