Album: Black Midi – Cavalcade review

by Harry Hodgson

An unpredictable journey that firmly cements Black Midi as one of the most exciting bands in the UK today

This highly anticipated second record sees the London based, experimental rock outfit making progress – with the band shackling some of the more improvised, jam-style moments. But, two years on, it is even harder to pin them down.

The tension-inducing, manic violin of single, John L, opens the record. Crazed and explosive, Morgan Simpson’s percussion moves from precise, snare-lead syncopation to off-kilter and outlandish drum pattern. While Slow – with its howling saxophone presence – again feels more expansive than their magnificent 2019 debut, Schlagenheim.

Another key sign of the progress and evolution present on Cavalcade comes through frontman Geordie Greep’s vocal style. The beautiful, Marleen Dietrich, shows a softer, more delicate inflection that fits perfectly amongst the slower, more elegant instrumentation; his graceful voice, accompanied by emotional, sweeping strings, creates an atmosphere of grandiosity and glory.

Much like its predecessor, Cavalcade is still chaotic, however, it is much more balanced. Songs have more time to grow, and album closer, Ascending Fourths, is a prime example of this. Across nine minutes, it is spellbinding masterpiece that builds before erupting into a sound of pure euphoria. And like a metaphor for Cavalcade as a whole, it will leave you equally in awe and scratching your chin over this curious, enigmatic band.

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