Despite their roots in raucous punk and a streak of pre-pandemic melodic rockers, Sheffield-based four-piece BlackWaters are utilising their debut album to take steps in an entirely new direction; one that’s as refreshing as it surprising. If you don’t know them, you’re in for a treat – and if you do, be prepared to rethink that.
Opening up with ‘All The Wrong People’, screeching guitars build a pulsating energy that immediately indicates the fresh approach the band are taking here. An overwhelmed thematic is carried by a sonic whirlwind that provides an auditory slap without needing to rely on excessively abrasive tone or volume – this is a deliberate reinvention that still personifies the staple charm of BlackWaters’ previous offerings.
While a revitalized glisten is present throughout, grounded instrumentals prevent the self-produced work from spiralling into a disjointed domain. Lead single ‘Same Old’ is a moody and downtrodden example of this, relying on a driving momentum imbued with a somewhat ethereal quality, perhaps from guitarist David Carpenter’s delightful vocal backing to frontman Max Tanner’s vibrant rebellion against boredom and self-indulgence.
The bouncy joy of ‘Can You Swim?’ marks the third style in the same number of songs, making the experience feel like a creative experiment that fuses familiar and fresh perspectives together in a manner that – thankfully – undeniably pays off, proving the capabilities of underrated voices in UK rock music to push their own boundaries.
For those who revel in chaos, tunes like ‘Be Your Guide’ are sure to rile up crowds with twisted riffs, eccentric cowbells and choruses that are easy to chant to – potential live favourites are proving their worth against an expansive and road-tested discography. Basslines plow through riveting verses, and soundscapes swell into dramatic segments that even include strings (‘Not Everybody’s A Winner’).
Not relying on high-spirited stompers alone, this record reveals a level of introspection that was somewhat unavoidable on a lockdown project, with themes exploring self-acceptance, following your instincts and recognising your own demons. On the acoustic ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ in particular, pleading desperation seeps through each strum while cementing the fact that you can achieve greatness no matter how broken your position may seem.
It is the closing title track that truly embodies the journey of this band and their full-length debut, though. This is, after all, an album forged within the bedroom; a DIY labour of love through and through. The road to completion hasn’t been a simple one: “pipe dreams slow dance up on my wall, pirouetting and breaking final moves till they fall,” Tanner sings, documenting the pursuit of their communal desires despite the unavoidable anxieties.
That’s the image that ‘Something Good In Lost Time’ paints; a ragtag group of restless creatives utilising a period of potential stagnation to ambitiously push their art further forwards than they have previously dared. It’s a big change, but you can’t argue with the stimulating results.
Blackwaters’ Something Good Lost In Time is out now and available to stream and download