There are many ways to start an album, but most go one of two ways – either with a slow-build that entices the listener in, or the full-on attack straight out of the traps, to grab the listener by the throat and demand their attention. ‘Shining Swords’, the first track on ‘A Lesson in Repression’ definitely takes the latter approach.
The density of the sound is impressive, and shares similar sonic territory to The Twilight Sad’s second album, ‘No-One Can Ever Know’, and the Steve Albini-recorded Wedding Present album ‘Seamonsters’.
‘Animal Without Backbone’ ratchets up the rage, the drums hammering through the blanket of guitar noise with the power and precision of Big Black’s Roland. Elsewehre, ‘A Consellation’ hits a tripwire tension between jangle and post-punk fury, and ‘Silence’ melds the angular chop of Gang of Four with the grit of Fugazi and the fuzz of underground 90s alt rock to powerful effect.
‘Dewdrops’ and ‘In The Lion’s Den’ see the band take things down a good few notches by focusing on acoustic guitar and softer sounds overall, but there’s still some hefty drumming, and the latter of the two explodes in a screed of noise after a minute or so.
It’s a bold, daring and abrasive work, staunchly ‘indie’ in terms of its production and dissemination, but by no means tame or conformist, ‘A Lesson in Repression’ is passionate, angsty and loud, to the extent that it’s hard to assimilate that Black International are a duo.
Angry, wrought with raw emotion, it’s exciting. And in a world saturated with anodyne, mass-produced, slick, compressed and emotionally vacant dreck, this kind of passion, music you can feel, music that excites, hits even harder.
Black International – A Lesson in Repression