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Album Reviews: Black Submarine ‘New Shores’  

2014-02-11 21:32:43|  分类: The Black Ships |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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By Uncut Magazine

Ex-Verve dudes’ waterlogged debut.
Nick McCabe kept a low profile after the Verve’s final exit, but resurfaced in 2011 as one fifth of Black Ships alongside old bass playing cohort Simon Jones and feted multi-instrumentalist and string arranger Davide Rossi. Now renamed, the line-up promises much – McCabe is one of the most talented UK guitarists of his generation – but this is the sound of an overfamiliar style battling for distinction and running out of puff. Even by eddying psych-rock standards, the tracks are too long, with ‘Lover’ – a ponderous blend of Cocteaus and below-par Verve – the nadir. Neither the abstraction of ‘Is this all we feel’ nor the john Martyn-like sweetness of ‘Move me a Mountain’ quite save the day. 

Album Reviews: Black Submarine ‘New Shores’ - the verve - verve中文网

Black Submarine are a band comprised of old heads with new sensibilities.  Band members have previously been part of The Verve (Nick McCabe on guitar and Simon Jones on bass) and Portishead (Michele ‘Mig’ Schillace on drums), along with their own solo and session projects (Amelia Tucker vocals and Davide Rossi, vocals and violin) – ‘veteran agents at their heigh of their powers’ apparently.  So what would this magnum opus sound like…

Black Submarine’s debut album is a work of tight production and knowing musicianship.  This is a band with ideas, and they know how to make them sound good.

Kicking off the album is the doom laden tones of ‘Black Submarine’; it’s an industrial romp occupying the darkest hours of the day, finding yourself wondering dimly lit streets full of determination and devilish thoughts.  Hints of Bjork’s Army of Me creep in with machine-like tones and steely brows.

Away from doom, the band have beautifully synergised heavy pounding bass with distorted guitars and the euphoric soprano of singer Amelia Tucker, see ‘Heart First’ for a gem example.  Unlike the many female singers we come across, she doesn’t have to warble uncontrollably or quiver in an estuary accent to make a point.  Her voice is devine and speaks for itself, bringing a lucid sunrise element to proceedings, particularly on ‘Move Me A Mountain’, which sounds practically naked comparative to the previous tracks.

As the band features two ex-Verve members, a band famous ‘aggressive walking’, unsurprisingly there are pumping undertones and laddish attitude.  However not in the way we would imagine.  Think of the rhythm section as a beating heart, sumptuously undulating emotion through the veins of the guitars and electronica, thus making Davide Rossi’s vocals sound more like a man on the vulnerable yet determined edge of a comedown, as opposed to one that will kick your head in.  ’Is This All We Feel’ is the song I can imagine inflicting sing-a-long’s and enthusiastic lighter grabbing, proving that heavy/doomy and industrial don’t have to be cold and distant.

The whole thing is like a soundtrack to times of the day, locations, dare I say emotions, expressed through aural delights that by the third play of the album were really starting to send shivers down my spine.  The more you listen to ‘New Shores’ the more it gently unfolds, nuances in the soundscape start to reveal themselves until they’re the only things you can hear.  When I finally reached ‘Everything That Happens To…’, I was pretty much in the same place I found myself the time I got stoned and listened to S’hine On You Crazy Diamond’, but yet my system was clean.  It’s an album that can be easily enjoyed as a collection of songs, but wouldn’t feel out of place in an indie movie.  I’ll stop myself because I’m getting a bit excited now, but you have to hear it to feel it, you know?  I hope you do…

At the height of their powers?  Absolutely.  If they only make one album they can be proud this was it.  An aural treat.

By yekimmikey

On paper Black Submarine may not be a super group that will get the musos clamouring  in anticipation but thankfully that’s not where music stays. Comprised of Nick McCabe and Simon Jones of The Verve as well as ex Coldplay, Portishead and Goldfrapp collaborators, there is a lot of talent at work and it shows. Ten songs that stretch to just short of an hour. These are slow burning anthems that will take time to settle in your heart because all sounds so eerily bleak.  It could easily soundtrack footage of barren landscapes or old towns brought into disrepair. There is an intriguing mix as dark industrial sounds and distorted guitars make way for folk with a subtle use of strings lingering throughout and  Amelia Tucker’s  beautiful voice elevate ‘Heart First’ and the confessional  ’Move Me A Mountain’ even further.  Invest the time and you will be rewarded fully. 8/10


One would be forgiven for feeling trepidatious about a new record from The Verve’s Nick McCabe and Simon Jones. After The Verve’s final album of cod-totemic bullshit and a realisation that their finest work was now twenty years old, a new album of sprawling bombast from two 40-somethings – albeit one free of Dickie Ashcroft’s messianic warbling – is not exactly on everyone’s Christmas list. But against all odds, ‘New Shores’ is actually a rather enthralling record of sprawling bombast: full of icy vocals from newcomer Amelia Tucker, twinkling McCabe trademark guitars, big dubby bass and even bigger strings, it carries its own considerable weight with a reassuring confidence.

That’s not to say there isn’t a fair amount of bloat here too: several songs could lose their final couple of minutes of infinitely stretched guitar noodle, and a couple of others could disappear altogether. The bulk, though, is a treat of swaggering, psychedelic rock that hints at The Verve’s earliest work, and there’s no reason to fear that.

Reviewed by Graveyard Poet

Fading in with amorphous, growling feedback, the rumbling approaches of ominous thunder, "Black Submarine" kicks into gear with a low end, grinding beat, inky black underwater trip hop with the title chanted over and over in the midst of the buzzing haze and violinist Davide Rossi and vocalist Amelia Tucker lost at sea, alternately reciting the deja vu phrase "I've been here before."

"Here So Rain" similarly gradually fades in with the spinning sounds of distant decayed feedback before a delicate keyboard arpeggio, raindrops falling, ushers in another deep bass beat and complex soundscape. Amelia's warning "The storm is going to break" is conveyed in stark, intense sonic blueprints as the insistent violin and guitar duel with each other over a marching beat which then drops out to the violin's solo psalm, a graceful series of notes which uncurl like clouds of smoke, and then it's full speed ahead back into the chaotic turbulence.

"Heart First" is very dense--Amelia's vocals are buried inside the storm cloud from the previous track, the dramatic, surging strings and rippling guitar lifting us higher and higher with each passing minute. The song fades slowly into a collapse of drifting patterns--the cloud breaking apart.

"The Love in Me" begins with an acoustic guitar electronically processed to a sharp, silver, metallic tone--a bleak post-punk rhythm drives Davide's brooding vocal with Nick McCabe's splintered shrapnel guitar summoning the gray industrial grit of Bernard Sumner ca. Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. The guitar's fade-out resembles a slowly dying piece of factory machinery as bells echo in the distance.

"Move Me A Mountain" brilliantly follows this quartet of gunmetal gray moods with sunshine and fresh breezes on a spring day clearing the air. Amelia Tucker's vocals are earthy like Sandy Denny and her poetic lyrics of spring and harvest, innocence and aging, are timeless. Nick McCabe's pastoral acoustic arrangement recalls Fairport Convention-era Richard Thompson and Davide Rossi's sweeping string flourishes are reminiscent of Robert Kirby's orchestral work on Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left.

"Is This All We Feel" starts with seagull feedback and a Wurlitzer organ in the background playing watery notes. The mellow reflections are a return to the gray, rain-soaked regions of the first four tracks. Now the sound is ruminative rather than charged.

"Everything That Happened to Me Is You" has a shivering, ghostly fade in with crystalline bells accenting the deep, slow-motion atmospheres. Davide's and Amelia's cathedral vocals and Nick's moaning guitar combine to create a sad and haunting song.

"Lover" is sung by both Davide and Nick's daughter Elly. It's a blurry shoegaze ballad which would not have sounded out of place on Slowdive's Souvlaki. 

"Heavy Day" opens midway through a jam in progress, it's another dense song like "Heart First". There's another intriguing transition between tracks as bells and the sounds of people walking around on a city street segues into the closer.

"You've Never Been Here" opens the submerged sound field into a wider horizon with a cascading ambient introduction. A galloping rhythm and Davide's/Amelia's vocals joined in unison continuously climb the steep side of the mountain as Nick's swirling effects surround the weathered cliffs in spectacular motion.

Black Submarine's debut is one of the must-hear albums of 2014. 
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