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Black Water County - 'The Only Life Worth Living' Album Review


1. The Only Life Worth Living

2. Cruel State Of Mind

3. Here We Are Again

4. Escape

5. Disasters

6. Questions

7. The Archives

8. Before Things Get Worse

9. Second Guessing ft. Hannah Greenwood

10. Limelight

Black Water County release their third album, 'The Only Life Worth Living', on the 3rd of November.

So what’s it like? If I’m honest it took me a while to work it out, on the first couple of listens I couldn’t work out how it hung together. I struggled to get how it worked as a body of work. My instant reaction was there are a lot of tremendous songs here but I’m not getting the arc of this album. To quote Katy Perry, something I’ve never done before it initially felt very much you’re in and you’re out, your up and you’re down.

However, after those first couple of listens it started to really grow on me (to be clear I loved a lot of the songs on the first listen, they’re instant, it was the album as a whole I didn’t get initially), this is very much the sound of a band pushing the limits of their sound, testing themselves and what they are capable of, introducing almost a folk element into their music but in a way that totally makes sense and enhances the songs.

Listening to the lyrics helped me get it, I think this album is about hitting the bottom and pulling yourself back up again. I may be wrong but that’s what I took from it. There any any number of brilliant songs on here, ranging from quiet, introspective and luscious to stomping songs that sound like the Pogues or the Dropkick Murphys found themselves some new singers and reinvented themselves by bringing in elements of Thin Lizzy to, whisper it, proper pop songs, to songs that could be 90’s indie to one of my favourite songs of this and many other years, Second Guessing. This is quite simply a powerhouse of an album.

The dual lead singers approach works incredibly well, their voices mesh and the harmonies between them are tremendous but they also bring energy and the band as a whole should be proud of this record, it’s hard to make something that makes you want to jump around a dance floor but also sit and listen to some of the songs and soak in just how gorgeous they are.

The band feel like they are very much on an upwards trajectory with this record, it should garner them attention and bring their music to a wider audience, after reviewing their last single I bought their previous album, a wise decision, but this is even better, I can’t wait for it to be released, I’ve been listening to it via download but really want the vinyl copy to arrive so I can listen to it on that (it’s available for pre-order, I’ve ordered mine, why don’t you do the sensible, intelligent thing and order yours now)..

Black Water County are about to embark on a headline UK tour, visiting a number of major UK cities such as Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol and London during November and December, if you can get yourselves a ticket then buy it now, if they are half as good live as they are on this album you will have found your new favourite live band, I can’t wait for it!

I loved this album, I know I started this review saying it didn’t work as a body of work for me, I was quite simply wrong, give it a few listens, it will hook you in and you may never want to stop playing.

Review - Iain McClay


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