Few 2022 releases are as highly anticipated as Black Country, New Road’s sophomore album Ants From Up There, coming out Feb. 4 via Ninja Tune. Only adding to the excitement, the band have shared another preview of what’s to come with the album’s fourth single, “Snow Globes.” After receiving near-universal acclaim for their debut full-length For the first time, these singles make it clear that the seven-piece London band have no interest in resting on their laurels or repeating themselves.
Each single thus far has revealed a new facet of what’s sure to be a complex, sonically diverse album, with each track standing on its own two legs as a bold statement from the group. “Snow Globes” is no exception. Clocking in at an extensive nine minutes, the track’s momentum builds and wavers, beginning as an exercise in steady repetition before swelling to its emotional peak and collapsing in on itself, allowing the gentle guitar march featured at the start to crawl the rest of the way to the end, worming back to where it began post-explosion. The sheer catharsis of the song resonates beyond its runtime.
Drummer Charlie Wayne talked about the song’s origins in a statement:
Snow Globes was one of the songs which had existed before we wrote the majority of the songs on AFUT. Though it’s a pretty good representation of the musical world we wanted to explore on the album at large. Rather than writing a song with a number of distinct sections we wanted to see what we could do with one continuous riff. It was a real exploration in trying to create something maximalist whilst limiting ourselves with minimal musical choices.
Because the melodic instruments are all playing the riff in unison, Snow Globes left the drums with an interesting opportunity. The drums don’t sit separately from the rest of the band on Snow Globes, but we wanted to use them in a way that we hadn’t in the past. The initial idea was to feel like the drums were recorded for a completely separate track. They were meant to be totally arrhythmic and just sort of bubble below the surface – like at the end of [Frank Ocean’s] White Ferrari. As the song progressed the drums still occupy a slightly different sound world, but because the rest of the band is playing in such a syncopated style, the drums were given a space to disregard rhythm and be completely expressive.
Black Country, New Road are currently preparing to undertake a (mostly sold-out) North American tour through February and March. In the meantime, check out “Snow Globes” below. You can pre-order Ants From Up There here.