Black Country, New Road (3 stars)

Black Country, New Road

Picture: Jess Shurte

Black Country, New Road go with the flow while overcoming their own obstacles in an International Festival gig that electrifies when it's not frustrating

London seven-piece Black Country, New Road came of age during lockdown with their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album For The First Time, and are now heading out into the big bad touring world with their training wheels on. In Edinburgh, they met friendly natives who didn't seem at all bothered that songs were far from a particular consideration for the ensemble. Like their lower-cased buddies black midi, who played a taut if barmy set on the same stage a few nights prior, Black Country, New Road are more about going with the flow, hence a post-rock label which is just broad enough for their slippery sound.

Kicking off with spry drumming and hectic klezmer-like patterns on the synthesizer, which all but drowned out the violin and saxophone, they still succeeded in creating a Balkan-folk dance party. The energy was not to last, however, and the improvisational roots of their music produced some frustratingly non-descript indie folk meanders fronted by singer/guitarist Isaac Wood. Meanwhile, the rest of the band were left to their own devices to graft on some sensitive embellishment.

These underwhelming results were reminiscent of the navel-gazing chamber folk of fellow Londoners Noah And The Whale. Thankfully, Black Country, New Road have more than that in their armoury, even if they had to overcome a pained shyness in deploying it. 'Going to say hello then?' shouts an audience member after an hour of almost zero interaction with the crowd. 'No,' came the quiet answer, before the band dusted off some loud power chords and keyboard flourishes to end their set on a relative high.

Black Country, New Road performed at Edinburgh Park, Monday 23 August.