Black International (Intl?) release their new album on the 11th (that’s next Friday). There aren’t many punk bands in Edinburgh, so it’s refreshing to hear some jagged rhythms cutting through my speakers like so much charred audio shrapnel.
Black International’s new album, In Debt is such a record. It defies and transcends what stands for modern punk these days – by that I’m talking about the faux anti-establishment anthems of Green Day and Rise Against, and it doesn’t jump off the deep end into the hard-core swimming pool with Minor Threat &co. No, for all the nods to The Clash and The Members, the biggest influence I’m hearing on In Debt are bands like Maximo Park – in the vox and the guitars, there’s a vein of the same blood that runs through, say, the early albums of Editors.
The album starts with a tumbling, crumbling drumroll on Million Mouths; though by the time Dread (Excerpt) purrs into focus I was left wanting for a killer hook. That knockout comes in the form of Word Virus, which is basically the fulcrum of the whole album; but until The City Is Dead there’s not much more in the way of excitement. Then there’s the penultimate track, Feed Me Rhetoric, which is a great song – equipped with all the gear a good punk song needs.
I liked this album – it’s punchy, angry and ready for a fight. It’s distinguished in its restraint and therefore retains a modicum of elegance, but there’s still something lacking. You’re left thinking they could have pushed the envelope a bit further, that those songs in the middle were wasted seconds. Either way, Black Intl started their UK tour in Newcastle two days ago, and they’re playing Edinburgh soon.