BLACK CAB | 明 (AKIRA) (LP)
As a long term Black Cab fan, there is a certain level of excitement that comes with the release of a new album, but hearing that their latest release was derived from the world of anime created a foreign feeling. The band, now playing with an entirely new theme on the release of Akira have set themselves up to not only challenge their own sounds, but the interests of their fans as well.
Described as “the alternate sound track to an anime sci-fi classic yet to be created” the album featured sampled sounds and shimmering, yet broody electronica to create a story that is simply missing visuals. There has always been a strong sense of narrative to the bands work, but it comes through stronger than ever here. As you listen to the vehicles flying past and scattered radio chatter in Scanning into the suspenseful introduction on following track Fugitives there is a sense of wonder about what has happened between scenes so to say. It is these cuts between each track that create the narrative so well on Akira. They offer space for the listener to imagine what is happening both in the moments of the tracks as well as in between. So often electronic albums are made better for seamless transitions, but here it’s hard to deny the choice against has created a strength in the album.
Throughout the journey of the album, there are moments that stand clear in your memory after the album has faded out. The powerful percussion of Singularity creates a sinister brooding that is hard to let slide, and it contrasts the tracks around it. First Contact and Second Contact possess a bridge that is hard not to wonder more about, but it’s at the tail end of the album when you tackle the curiously quiet Military Intervention and the following build towards Battles that the true brilliance of the album come through. Battles, opening with the faint sound of crows squawking bears a clear semblance to Military Intervention, yet the looming of percussion coupled with the crows teases the reality of what must have occurred. It is here, that the image is painted clearest for what Akira sound tracks. We don’t know who or what is fighting, but that teasing of aftermath is all too clear.
Akira is a challenging album, but one that is full of beauty and mystery. In a time where everything seems to be spelled out for us as listeners and fans, its exciting to see an artpiece that leaves more to the imagination than it tells. Like a choose your own adventure, Akira offers the chance to direct your own film with every listen, and the opportunities are borderline endless. If you are curious to see how the band want the album viewed, they have a few East Coast shows coming up.
Friday, August 4th | GOMA Up Late, Brisbane
Friday, August 18th | Howler, Melbourne
Saturday, August 26th | Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast