It’s not very often that I get the chance to review American based bands/artists for ‘The Primal Music Blog’. Michigan based Great Black Night will probably be the first American based band that I’ve had on repeat on my speakers over the past few weeks. Their 3 track EP entitled ‘The Smoke Is Rising’ has consistently made me smile every single time that I’ve listened to it.
America is producing some really great shoegaze & dreampop music as of late and in very many guises. But very few of those bands have actually left a mark on me like Great Black Night have. This bunch of brilliant musicians step outside of the box when it comes to adding interesting extra production & composition parts to their tracks, such as adding a Violin & Cello to a wall of layered guitars or adding a backing vocal to the very tip of the main vocal thus filling the overall track with that little bit of heaven. They make me sit back and think about their music. They make me gaze! Very few bands can do that to this listener.
They do something else amazing, which to me is what music should be about. Listening to ‘The Smoke Is Rising EP’ evokes so many memories of my youth that I simply had to write this review. It amazed me! It is full of thought provoking moments that bring out memories from the furthest reaches of this listeners mind. Memories of lying in the long grass on a warm summers day, years ago, with friends & family talking about Cocteau Twins, the Pros & Cons of the music scene on that particular day in time and other simple memories full of the excitement that comes with starting a band.
Listening to ‘All My Lonely Days’, the EP’s opening track, for the first time really threw me. I wasn’t expecting the immense production on it. This is a huge track. From the amazing lead vocal and especially the backing vocals, to the lush string section sitting on top of the guitars adding that extra sonic element to their overall sound. They instantly made themselves stand out to me as a great band. They are doing something different in this modern age of nu-gaze, shoegaze & dreampop and it’s a commendable trait as far as I’m concerned. ‘All my lonely days’ is my favourite track on this debut release and it is a stunning piece of musicianship! Check it out for yourself below:
Track 2, on this three track EP, is called ‘The DAAC Song’. This song does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s a powerful track with a strong, intensely powerful vocal line that sits in the mix brilliantly. It has an infectious opening guitar line that keeps your attention firmly focused on the entire track and won’t allow you to deviate from it. And again, the use of the string parts just under the vocals, throughout most of the track, is genius! Another brilliant addition to this EP.
The final track on the epic EP is a vivid journey through a deep, lush, dreampop infused soundscape. Its a beautiful piece of music entitled ‘I’ve Got A Lot Of love’. Opening with an absolutely stunning vocal track, aligned with those epic strings, this song is a 4 minute roller coaster of emotions.With its delightful sonically brilliant guitar lines, those looping and arcing string arrangements, which are all sitting on top of a steady bass and drum track, this song is a fitting end to a brilliant debut release by a band that I hope go on to bigger and brighter things in the future. I for one, can’t wait to hear what this bunch of musicians do next.
Great Black Night hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are Steve D: guitar & vocals, Matthew Eastman: drums & piano, Angel Hayden: vocals, Anne LaGrand: cello, Patrick Schaafsma: violin and Andy Stob: bass. ‘The Smoke Is Rising EP’ was released to the masses on 16th December. It was Recorded and Engineered by Matthew Eastman at Eastman Audio, Grand Rapids Michigan.
In the bands own words they are – ‘Celebrating excesses and restraint within the sounds of rock and roll, Great Black Night aim to give you the night of your lives. Great Black Night explores love and rebellion through soulful tender vocals, piercing guitars, lush strings, and driving rhythms. Great Black Night are your band. They sing songs for you and with you. Look up and gaze. The Great Black Night is a wondrous place’ – Here, Here I Say!
You can check out Great Black Night on:
Del Chaney – The Primal Music Blog – January 2015 – Dublin, Ireland