Big Black Delta – ‘Big Black Delta’ | Album Review

BBD

Words: J-P Storrow

There’s something quite other worldly about Big Black Delta, which is just as well considering mastermind Jonathan Bates’ UFO obsession (also the source of the moniker – mysterious dark triangles being just as prevalent as flying saucers).

Other worldly this debut may be but it’s grounded with anything goes rock n’ roll spirit and firmly anchored in bass-heavy synth and experimental noise. For the most part it’s a high-energy record that’s fired up from the outset with opener ‘Put The Gun On The Floor’ through to tracks like ‘The Zebrah’.

In truth, this Big Black Delta record was previously available about 18 months ago or so but, for whatever reason, it was quickly pulled, presumably due to a change of tack to build up to the album with a traditional volley of singles rather than an immediate flash bang LP release. That was ‘BBDLP1’ which clocked in with 9 classic tracks. Now, in ‘Big Black Delta’ we have 8 of those remastered and  5 new songs to bolster the ride.

And what a ride. Three blinding singles in ‘Ifuckingloveyou’, ‘Betamax’ and ‘Side Of The Road’ have set the tone for a platter that should figure in many critics’ and acolytes’ top 10s come the end of the year. You can detect much traditional song writing between the layers of treatment that these songs have received and that’s probably where a good chunk of the appeal lies whether you appreciate that or not.

The music swings along, one foot firmly in the past, the other striding into the future. For example, if it’s not too heavy an analogy, Jonathan blends his harpsichord-esque intro into ‘Betamax’ then punches through it with driving, practically industrial, beats and sequenced noise. Or consider ‘Side Of The Road’, wrapped up in heavy electronics and vocoder but eminently danceable with a charmingly ace video that evokes a Tron-like green screen version of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.

Newer songs like ‘Money Rain Down’ add new dimensions to the BBD sound with its sampled horns and funky bass. When the pace slows a little we’re welcomed with hopelessly romantic and gorgeous tracks like the evocative ‘Dreary Moon’, ‘Into The Night’ and ‘Love You This Summer’.

Far from being a mixed bag, Big Black Delta is a measured and varied album, brilliant from start to finish. It’s tempting to call it a masterpiece because it probably is but beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. One thing is certain though. Big Black Delta is a belter.

Big Black Delta is out now on Masters Of Bates Records.