In the new music feature Origins, artists get a chance to connect directly with listeners by revealing the inspirations behind their latest songs. Today, Black Country, New Road discuss their latest single, “Concorde.”
Black Country, New Road dropped one of the finest debuts of the year back in February with For the first time. Almost a year to the day later, they’ll drop their follow-up, Ants From Up There, on February 4th, 2022. Today sees the British experimental septet sharing a new taste of the LP with the single “Concorde.”
The track begins as something as a pleasant country ramble, but as with anything BCNR does, where we start is not necessarily where we end up. By the midpoint of the six-minute cut, notes of Beirut or Typhoon come through in the tightly plucked strings and floating horns. It all erupts into wistful chaos with 60 seconds left to go, another prime example of the band’s inventive and invigorating compositional skills.
Take a listen to “Concorde” below, followed by Black Country, New Road’s complete Origins of the track.
Pre-orders for Ants From Up There are available now, as our tickets to BCNR’s first-ever North American headlining tour. The trek is set for February and March, and you can get your passes via Ticketmaster.
Not so “Quiet in the Verses, Loud in the Choruses”:
“Concorde” started as an upbeat, melodic phrase which became the post-chorus of the tune. Isaac then developed this into a verse and the basic structure of the song came from that. When we took it to the rehearsal room to write the song together, we each individually filled in our own parts but there was a resounding feeling for changing the natural peaks and troughs of the tune. After a first playthrough, it felt a little “Quiet in the verses, loud in the choruses,” so we decided to use the final chorus as a building section to the outro, almost acting as a pre-chorus.
Once the general dynamics of the tune were sorted, we had a feeling that there was still something lacking as the tune has quite a basic harmonic structure. We added mandolin to change the sound world and to provide a snappy and spiky element to the song. With Georgia melodically meandering around the form, it gave the tune a bit of unpredictability that kept it feeling fresh.
In the studio, the track proved more difficult to record than we would’ve imagined given its simple structure. This was probably down to the shifts in feel between the verse and chorus parts. The track switches between a 6/8 feel and a much flatter 4 on the floor feel which we used to make the choruses feel like they were building, and at first we found it difficult to perform this convincingly. At the stage of recording, the song featured a twenty second piano solo immediately following the first chorus. May tried various overdubs, duetting with herself to try and make this section feel right to her (at one point we had three pianos playing together here) but in the end we decided the track worked better without this section and edited it out.
Double-Tracking Isaac’s Vocals:
This is the only song on the album that was altered like this after recording, there are a couple of overdubs on most of the songs, but we tried to keep those to additional instruments that we couldn’t have played amongst ourselves whilst tracking live. Concorde was also the first song which Isaac tried out double-tracked vocals on — in fact there are actually three tracks of Isaac’s vocals in the choruses on the final version. It really worked and the technique ended up being used in a few other spots on the record. We had never really used a production technique as a dynamic tool in such an obvious way before, but the sound of double-tracking is so ubiquitous in pop music that it still feels like a natural performance.