Mason D: Live at Bush Hall by Black Country, New Road
Live at Bush Hall is the latest project from the English post-rock band Black Country, New Road. After the release of their 2022 album Ants from Up There, many were upset to learn of lead singer Isaac Woods' departure from the band, citing mental health reasons. However, with vocals split among the remaining members, the group came out swinging for the fences with this new release. The band continued their style of "talk-singing" and rollercoaster-esque instrumentals throughout the project. Released on March 23rd of this year, the album includes all original music, recorded at a concert at Bush Hall in London, England. “Up Song,” the album’s intro, carries a squawking sax that turns into a tune reminiscent of old-time rock and roll with piano violently dancing in the background. “Laughing Song” also sticks out as a highlight, with woefully beautiful lyrics eulogizing a relationship while admitting fault for the downfall of it all. My personal favorite, “Turbines/Pigs,” is a nine-minute, self-pitying ballad that brings one to tears, if not the lead singer May Kershaw herself, who sings “Don’t waste your pearls on me, I’m only a pig.” Right as you’d expect the song to end, Kershaw’s piano begins to wind us back up and crescendos for the last three minutes of the song, which I personally think is one of the best music “moments” of the year, if not the past decade. Not many bands can write a song I can sit through for nine minutes in a row, but the winding melodies and masterful songwriting demand nothing but any listener's full attention. Overall, this Black Country, New Road record differs from their previous albums, but its beauty and elegance can’t be understated when comparing it to other albums from this year, which is why it is my album of the year.