Hellfire (Rough Trade)
Black Midi can be accused of many things, but never a lack of ideas or a reluctance to follow their own muse – even if many of those ideas have a cheese dream logic, and that muse is an infuriatingly fickle mistress, drunk at the wheel. Hellfire seals their status as heirs to the Cardiacs’ crown: intense, baroque, baffling.
Lead single Welcome To Hell somehow bridges the gulf between Black Country, New Road and System Of A Down, only for Sugar/Tzu to (just about) pull off an even more improbable trick, imagining what it might be like if Lightning Bolt were to cover Sinatra for a US talk show theme tune. Meanwhile, Still, in the eye of the storm, keeps its head while all about it are losing theirs.
The stage-school vocals of gabbling ringmaster/demented preacher Geordie Greep remain aural Marmite, but by the time bonkers finale 27 Questions comes around, I’ve finally felt myself starting to fall under their eccentric spell.
words BEN WOOLHEAD
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