Black Futures - Never Not Nothing - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Black Futures - Never Not Nothing

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2019-08-30
Black Futures - Never Not Nothing
Black Futures - Never Not Nothing

I consider myself something of an old-school rivethead, so when I heard the new Black Futures album, Never Not Nothing, described as sort of industrial, I thought I'd give it a shot. I discovered that it is indeed a flavor of post-industrial, but also mixed in a with a lot of earnest alt-rock stylings and a decent helping of electronics, making it a very strange blend. Still, this is the freshest thing I've heard all year, while still being comfortingly familiar. This is the band's debut, so there's no back catalog to compare it too, but it seems like they've been informed by everything from punk to EDM.

Opener 'Body and Soul' really hits this odd genre straddling approach, with a sincere opening that actually reminded me of Blue October, all needy and wheedling, before blasting out the jams. It's followed by the more straightforward rock of 'Gutters', which sounds a lot like late 2000s Nine Inch Nails, vocals and all.

Absolutely the highlight of the set is 'Karma Ya Dig!', that also starts out light and airy, but brings the power in the chorus, while still preserving the lightness, for a really captivating contrast in sounds. Another in the same vein is 'Power Drunk', which proclaims the band's name and darkly whimsical outlook: "Black futures, woo hoo, you better get used to." And that chorus is one of the most powerful hooks I've heard in a long time. I can't stop singing it at random times. The verses bang and stomp, and bassy piano chords gird the whole affair nicely.

And lots of the songs do the same thing, wailing and moaning with explosive energy, but then quieting down just enough to give you a chance to catch your breath. 'Me.TV' rolls along in the best tradition of a stadium rocker, with growling breaks between the big, harmonic choruses. Others just go go go, and that's fine too. The first single, 'Tunnel Vision', is the strongest example of that style, pushing and driving relentlessly, with cooler but still pulsing verses balancing the massive chorus, and another clever and thematic turn of phrase, "Out of the blue, into the black!"

The album isn't quite perfect. 'Love' is a bit too rackety and piercing, with a chaotic mess of instrumentation and a lot of yelling. And 'Riches' is just a little over-the-top, with a goofy interregnum that kind of ruins the rhythm of the song. Still, these are pretty nit-picky complaints about an extremely strong set.

It's always a real treat when an album I'm reviewing sucks me in on the very first listen. Black Futures have managed this rare feat with an energetic album that both fly high and gets down in the muck as needed. If you're an industrial purist, look elsewhere, but if you're okay with genre mash-ups that kick down the doors, this is one of the best picks of the year.

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