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Black Time — Aerial Gobs of Love

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Black Time promotes its new album, Aerial Gobs of Love, with the tagline “bad vibes rarely sound this good.” That’s a pretty fair assessment.

Aerial Gobs of Love is the fourth full length album from this London based goth/garage rock band, released by the Swedish label Förbjudna Ljud.

The album’s first half is a chaotic mess of amplifier buzz and disconnected drumming. Screeching lead guitar wails over crunchy distorted chords on the album’s title song. The first few tracks make heavy use of punk staples: aggressive yelling vocals and fuzz-drenched power chords. On “No Expectation” (does any title better capture punk’s nihilism?) a harsh, sustained guitar note reverberates throughout, cutting through the rough rhythms and… is that a church organ? (So much for nihilism). Amidst all the punk heaviness, there’s still something catchy about these tunes, like the Cramps-style psychobilly lead riff on “More Bricks Than Kicks.”

On the album’s second half, things get weird. “Tarzan Vs IBM” is a disorienting collection of fragmented noises, electronic horns, crumbly synths, and robot beeps: a surreal departure from the band’s earlier garage rock sound. (“Tarzan Vs. IBM,” by the way appears to be the French working title for a 1965 Jean-Luc Godard movie whose lead character is secret agent Lemmy Caution, the name adopted by Black Time’s lead singer. Someone ought to write a dissertation.) Bright, full acoustic guitars are unexpected on “Tolling of the Bell” and “Flakes,” while “Aerial Dub” is a mix of tribal drumming and firework synths. There’s even some pretty good dance music: “Cave Paintings,” a chanty, rhythmic rock n’ roll song. While musical styles change from song to song, the vocals are consistently raw. Caution’s yelling and aggressive chants power every song, yanking them back to their punk roots. It can get a little ugly at times, which is fine by me.

If you’re always looking for the most fuzz and the loudest sounds to blow out your eardrums, Aerial Gobs of Love is the album for you. But even with all that volume, the band manages to maintain a cheerful rhythm and energy. Like the tagline reminds us, sometimes bad vibes can sound awfully good.

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