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About 15 or 16 months ago I wrote that Black Swan Lane would have a hard time topping then current effort, The Last Time In Your Light. A perfect distillation of the bands strengths, I wondered where they’d go from there. As it turns out – on to greater things. Just 16 months after the last record, Black Swan Lane have delivered their latest offering to the world. A Moment Of Happiness bears traces of its predecessors whilst looking inwardly in a way the band hasn’t yet explored.

The last two weeks, I’ve had the lyric “my body and soul are all alone” stuck in my head. A key lyric from the latest offering by Black Swan Lane, and a phrase that ties together influences and originality. It originally reminded me of the classic Joy Division lyric “heart and soul / one will burn” from their masterful 2nd LP. Black Swan Lane take the universal application of the Ian Curtis lyric and turns it inwards. That’s a trait that pops up throughout A Moment Of Happiness and that’s what makes it a standout record in 2014. Does the world reward consistent brilliance? To me, it seems like once a band has a sub par record, any follow-up can be praised as a “return to form”. But what if a band never wavers from delivering 4 or 5 star records? That’s the situation Black Swan Lane find themselves in, and its a situation that the music world should take notice of.

infinite space (album highlights)

DNA is a classic post punk tune, angular guitar riffs and a memorable bass riff holding everything together. At this point, the interplay between Black Swan Lane principals Jack Sobel and John Kolbeck is a given. Their talent lies in elevating the music beyond the familiar. Brooding vocals with a slightly menacing metaphor serving as the chorus “I’m dna and infinite space”. That’s nothing compared to the angst in Sobel’s voice as he seethes “I shattered my illusions again”. Of special note is the one-off bass riff that closes the song in the final 30 second. A perfect opening track. Body And Soul separates itself from the post punk influences just a bit. I’m going to be honest – it reminds me of early 90’s Alternative “heart on the sleeve” rock. I mean this in the most positive way possible. Acoustic based with a hopeful vibe permeating the song – married to lyrics that are just a shade on the dark side. This is the tune that has been stuck in my head since my copy arrived in the mail. 3 minutes of perfection. More shows off Black Swan Lane’s influences – particularly The Chameleons and Kitchens of Distinction. Menacing guitar riff that threatens to explode, restrained vocals – this is an atmospheric masterpiece. “can’t feel more / can’t feel anymore”. The title track closes the record on a high note – a mantra like acoustic plea for happiness. The music builds as the song progresses, leaving the listener wanting for more.

If you haven’t guessed already, this is a record that I highly recommend. You can purchase it directly from the band here or get the digital copy from all the usual suspects. Keep up to date with the band’s activities via Facebook – I’m sure we’ll be talking about another masterpiece from this band in 12 to 18 months time. A special note has to be made for that album cover – an original by Andrea Gottardi. This is my favorite album cover since Nick Cave’s Push the Sky Away.

Verdict: Another gem from Black Swan Lane

For Fans of: Kitchens of Distinction, The Sun & The Moon, U2, Interpol, The Chameleons, The Smiths, Joy Division

Tracks:

  1. dna
  2. dust
  3. body and soul
  4. lost for you
  5. pretty in tears
  6. below the sound
  7. time
  8. more
  9. sandia
  10. lonely
  11. years
  12. a moment of happiness
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