Text: Arjen Bloem

The lads of Black Midi are known for not caring about figuring out chord progressions, or rather, everything is a jam session that turns the whole environment into a pleasant mess. The acclaimed debut album Schlagenheim from 2019 scored extremely well with the crowd and the press and created some expectation for the successor. Not much later in the same year, the band was already working on the often tricky second album; Cavalcade. Just like Schlagenheim, Cavalcade contains the experimental rock that you know from songs like ‘bmbmbm’ and ‘953’.

What is striking is that on Cavalcade there is less emphasis on improvisation than on Schlagenheim. The band seems to have set the goal to think out its experimental sound better. That better thinking is immediately noticeable in the opening track ‘John L.’, which is good for a supersonic trip that resembles a whirlpool from which you cannot escape. It is nice that the album leaves room for a rest between heavier tracks. This gives just enough air to go into the next whirlwind. One of them is called ‘Chondromalacia Patella’ and is actually Black Midi in a nutshell. The song treats you to strange phrases and unearthly riffs and those who listen well will recognise that the climax of ‘bmbmbm’ is recycled. This passes into quiet moments with jazz influences, to transcend within ten seconds and switch to the highest gear; no way to tell.

That is exactly what makes the band Black Midi so enjoyable. In short, Cavalcade is a more mature record that resembles its older brother Schlagenheim. The big difference is in the approach to the end result. 

Rough Trade / Konkurrent