The new Radiohead? No, but who cares?! Blackchords’ ‘Pretty Little Thing’ will succeed without the name-dropping, thank you very much.
To hail a band as, “the new Radiohead”, as some under-sexed, over-caffeined reviewer recently proclaimed Blackchords to be, is much more than a poisoned chalice; it’s a French kiss of death. Every new listener will approach their music with their ears loaded with pre-ordained ideas as to how you should sound, or, more accurately how you shouldn’t sound i.e. like anybody else. Well, Melbourne-based quartet Blackchords do not sound like the new Radiohead, but really, how could they? Radiohead are a band that constantly change themselves, never looking back or referencing any musical touchstone other than their own imaginations, like a chameleon dancing on a rainbow, or Madonna, with talent.
Rather than describing who Blackchords sound like, let’s discuss what they sound like; their new single ‘Pretty Little Thing’ boasts a hypnotically simple bass line that leads frontman Nick Milwright’s gentle croon towards a sudden burst of chorus that is as pop as it is rock, as melodic as it is destructive. A curious electronic interlude in the middle-eight sounds just about natural enough to be justified, perhaps cueing up those knee-jerk Radiohead comparisons, (“What? A guitar AND a computer?! Call Thom’s lawyers, we’ve got a clear-cut case of musical plagiarism! Oh, these kids will rue the day they thought they could rip off the Head!”), before the obligatory repeat of the chorus wraps up what is a very neat pop-tinged rocker that will stick in your memory well up until Blackchords fly over to play a show near you. That is, unless a certain Oxford-based band don’t bankrupt them first…