Blacklisters – ‘Adult’

By Glen Bushell

Trying to describe the noise rock genre to anyone who isn’t in the know is always a difficult task. It has a history rooted in both grunge and punk, and while drawing heavily from each world, it is more than just a fusion of the two. The best way you could possibly sum up noise rock, is to call it a good old-fashioned racket that is often shrouded in a dark sense of humour. Much like genre forefathers The Jesus Lizard and The Melvins, the UK’s very own Blacklisters have done just that on their latest album ‘Adult’, and rather than just be another clone, they offer something original in today’s scene.

From the disjointed opening of ‘Shirts’, you can hear that Blacklisters have no shame in wearing their influences proudly on their sleeve. It’s broken, ugly, and takes you back to the dissonance of Seattle in the early 90’s, but shows a mature growth in the bands playing ability. Each composition raises the intensity of the album as ‘Adult’ unfolds effortlessly from track to track, with each being more unforgiving than the last. The bass heavy drone of ‘Cash Cow’ and the wonderfully titled ‘The Sadness of Axl Rose’ make for the perfect soundtrack to Billy Mason-Wood’s distorted vocal. While quite low in the mix, it serves its purpose as an extra instrument, adding another layer of noise to their art.

What sets Blacklisters apart from other bands doing a similar thing in this day and age is their ability to switch things up, without upsetting the ebb and flow of ‘Adult’. The punk rock fury of ‘I Knock Myself Out’ sits perfectly next to the dark, dense wall of noise that builds through ‘Dream Boat’, that while both different in their attack, remain cohesive and in keeping with the vibe of the album. This could be down to producer Matt Johnson (Hookworms) giving ‘Adult’ a very raw, and live sound. It has undeniably worked in Blacklisters favour, and the unhinged, volatile nature of their live performance has been captured with precision. Much like the when the band play live, you never know what to expect next with the sense that almost anything can happen.

‘Adult’ makes you think, and goes against the grain by bucking every trend and revival that is currently happening in music. It is an album for people who like their music to be bold, uncontrolled, and unsettling. They may have been around for a long time, but Blacklisters have really nailed the sound they have been looking for, and it feels like the last 10 years of the bands history has just been a countdown to the 40-minutes of chaotic bliss on ‘Adult’.

GLEN BUSHELL

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