Black Swan Lane – Hide in View

We last heard from Black Swan Lane during the last half of 2019 when they released the stellar LP Vita Eterna. The LP stood out as a highlight in the band’s oeuvre and featured guitar wizard Dave Fielding from the criminally underappreciated bands The Chameleons and The Reegs. At the time I wondered if Jack Sobel and company had backed themselves into a corner – where do you go from here? As it turns out, the world would soon change. The pandemic brought out the best and worst traits of humanity, leaving the world in a frightening polarized state. The last 18 months or so had band mastermind Jack Sobel in isolation, working diligently on the next Black Swan Lane record. An anomaly in the band’s catalogue – this is just Jack Sobel on record. No heralded guests from Manchester, England. No former musical partners. A solo album in all but name, Hide in View is the latest album from Black Swan Lane. And it lives up to the earlier critically acclaimed releases whilst adding some new twists to the sound. The album cover is simply stunning and is a sign of the music contained within.

Hide in View opens the album in stunning fashion. The guitars chime in a way that recalls the best of the Manchester post-punk scene. Jack’s vocals hint at the darkness of pandemic times. “I lost my energy / I lost my soul.” This is dark stuff and wonderfully engaging. I hear a hint of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in the vocal delivery which is high praise indeed. Control has a shuffling rhythm that works well in tandem with Jack’s whispered vocals, notable for the restrained menace bleeding through. “All my lies become the truth.” A song that is atmospherically impeccable. Not About Me is a modern classic – swirling guitars, longing vocals, layers upon layers of melody & sound f/x. Stunning. Asche is an instrumental piece that is quite moving emotionally. It reminds of the coda from The Chameleons classic View From a Hill. A spiritual cousin perhaps. 2 minutes of bliss. Throwing Stones ends the album on a high note. A release from the doubt, anger, and sadness that permeated the songs that came before. Anthemic, emotive, and uplifting in a way, this is one of the strongest songs on the album. A perfect way to close out this set of songs. I’m not going to wonder how Jack will follow up this album – I’m sure whatever comes next will be incredible.

You can buy Hide in View here  and follow Black Swan Lane on Facebook here.

Verdict: Shimmering Post Punk

For fans of: The Chameleons, The Sound, Joy Division, The Sun & the Moon, Interpol

Tracks:

  1. Hide in View
  2. Smiling with You
  3. Control
  4. It’s Not True
  5. Little Bird
  6. Finally Here
  7. Not About Me
  8. The Fear
  9. Broken Mind
  10. Asche
  11. Wish
  12. Throwing Stones

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