In the opening bars of Black Rock Candy’s latest single “Trouble,” the hard edge of a band that has come close to breaking through into realms of heavy rock becomes too powerful to stamp out, and the audience is taken on an unpredictable ride through a spectrum of vibrant tonality that the group has developed since first assembling. Melody is everywhere we look, but it is presented to us in a grinding drone that menacingly encourages us to keep our distance. Contrarily, the vocals beg for us to come closer and embrace the enchanting harmony that they’re pushing upstream, against the grain of the band, and when it feels like everything is about to come apart a glaring guitar riff burns through the chorus and transports us back to familiar ground.
“Trouble” is a single that, admittedly, is in search of its own identity, and whether or not it finds that identity in just about three minutes is subjective and only determined by those who are listening to the song. Pseudo-rock fans will be disappointed in this track – it falls short of encapsulating the blandness of contemporary music as it has been previously demonstrated to us before by scores of rivals and lacks a cohesiveness that pop radio demands. This is perhaps its best quality; this composition is so proudly hearty, unruly in its structure, and purposely anti-conformist in almost every sense, yet it still shares with us a treasure chest of harmonies that fit in perfectly well with contemporary pop. It dares to be different and doesn’t mind being an outcast – ironically making it much more “alternative” than its detractors would probably like to admit.
The lyrics in this song are much more melodic than the actual singing is, but I think that in this type of a track, the concept works great. It only would have been more prudent to direct the spotlight towards the transmission of the verses if Black Rock Candy’s goal was to showcase the vocal harmonies of the track, but that isn’t what they were going for. This is a song that puts most of its stock in the ferociously raw and unkempt nature of its arrangement, not one that was meant to give the singer a selfish boost in confidence.
While I’m not arguing that “Trouble” isn’t indeed as saturated in metal themes and smothered in contemporary experimentalism as anything you’d find in the new underground of rock music is, its significance to the band’s catalog isn’t limited to its untried rendition of traditional melody alone. If we take away the unadulterated ominousness of its bold design, it’s no different than any other single Black Rock Candy has released before. It’s lively, amiable within reason, and exuberantly well-produced, but what makes it so different is that the band isn’t hiding its hunger for reckless abandon. They’ve cut loose, detached from the rulebook, and recommitted themselves to evolving their sound rather than just reimagining it. Literate and straightforward whilst being rhapsodic and unstoppably cathartic? You can definitely sign me up for more.
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