Formed in 2004, the Melbourne-based band Black Cab is comprised of singer/programmer Andrew Coates, and guitarist/keyboardist James Lee with Wes Holland on drums.
Although I somehow recall the band’s 2004 debut, “Altamont Diary”, a concept album dedicated to the Stones’ infamous ill-fated 1969 free concert at Altamont Speedway, which deftly mixed acid guitars and experimental electronics, since then I guiltily lost sight of them, to come across the group again, by chance on Soundcloud, with a couple of brilliant singles, where the synthetic sounds appeared to take over in a sort of Synth Rock, for whatever the tags may be worth.
The trio have dropped the videogame-inspired “Non-Playable”, via their own label Interstate 40 Music, the first new track since 2022’s sixth album “Rotsler’s Rules”, blending “the best of the Cab’s unique mix of Drone Rock and Germanic-tinged New Wave electronica”, I would add, however, 80s-tinged “Synth Britannia” suggestions, New Order moodiness and hypnotic Krautrock drifts.
Non-Playable was recorded over sessions in late ’22 and early ’23 with engineer and musician Graham Pogson (GL, Bamboos), mixed and produced by Woody Annison and the band, and mastered by Andrei Eremin.
A ‘non-playable character’ refers to video game characters that cannot be controlled by a real player. It can be used as an insult to suggest that some people are unable to form thoughts or opinions. And it’s also what it feels like to get old. The artwork is a default character (‘Cooper’) from the game engine Unreal Engine.
Worried lyrics, from the mind of an NPC, brood in a constant fear of being invisible and unimportant.
Metronomic clapping drum snares skip ceaselessly along with elastically pulsing rubbery organic bass lines, jingling, rippling undercurrents and somber baritone guitar gloom, awash by wafting whirring lonesome synth expanses and swirling twisted strands of fuzzy spacey melancholia, surrounding sad detached vocals, longing to belong, with frustrated sorrow.
Black Cab‘s “Non-Playable” single launch will take place at Howler on Friday 27th October with special guests Dumb Machine Music and Nina Buchanan.
Check out the highly interesting band’s Website where they talk, as fans, about the legendary Australian rock band Died Pretty, magnetically fronted by the recently sorely missed Ron Peno with the ace guitarist Brett Myers, whom I was very lucky to see live in the faraway 1987 in my hometown…Died Pretty‘s 1984 12″ EP “Out Of The Unknown” is an absolute top notch classic from my teenage years.
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