In Review: black midi - Cavalcade

Time appears to have fortified black midi's vision, as they collide their chaotic qualities on a second album that seems effortless and revelatory.
Posted: 26 May 2021 Words: Wes Foster

Their brashness has never left them. Right from the start, black midi have had an almost jarring quality to their writing. Throughout Cavalcadethe album pummels you from the beginning. Hardly in a bad way though - with more listens it begins to soften, and allows those moments of vulnerability, slight though they may be. 

Whereas their first album, as strong as it was felt somewhat flat after the immense amount of hype the band seemed to have, this album really hits the mark, and sees them play with their best qualities and avoiding conformity. Though their writing seems chaotic, this is exactly where they excel. It never really strays into absolute chaos - their musicianship is so strong that it is always held within an inch of becoming a monster. 

Though riffs are the main driving force of their music, I would bet that it would be possible to tell a black midi song only from the isolated parts of their tracks because of how much they each stand out. Each part alone wouldn’t fit with anything else, brought together and suddenly they make complete sense.

Repetitive throughout, almost grinding, these riffs have always defined their tracks and given a quality to their writing that is almost math-rock-esque, though without the strained perfectionism that accompanies the genre. One of black midi’s best qualities has always been that they make their playing seem effortless. Throughout highs and lows it seems much more considered than their debut Shlagenheim was, and seems more natural when they move away from that high octane writing. On Cavalcade, the four-piece tell stories in a way that they haven’t before, and feels less hollow than some of their earlier work.

As a band, time appears to have fortified their vision and really allowed them to settle into a style that is more their own. They have always been unique, though Cavalcade really marks the change into something much more unlike other bands. 

Cavalcade is out on Friday (28th May) via Rough Trade Records.

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