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PETER BLACK – No Dangerous Gods In Tunnel

| 15 November 2012 | Reply

Label: Citadel
Released: September 2012
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Blackie from Wollongong punk metal combo Hard-Ons has delivered his latest solo album, his first release since his taxi driving day job resulted in a beating by a couple of losers and a skull fracture for his trouble.

As you can tell from the album title – not to mention almost thirty years of Hard-Ons mayhem – Blackie has a quirky sense of humour, and he’s not afraid to use it!  As Hard-Ons vocalist for the past decade since Keish departed, he has matured his voice well and here he puts it to very good use on a collection of… well, it’s not so easy to compare this music to anything else, such is the artistic uniqueness on display.

I guess we could describe the music as campfire songs.  Acoustic guitar and vocals for the most part – with some strings here and there, and trippy, sometimes almost stream of consciousness vocal lines.  The vocals are the trippiest part – sometimes multi tracked like some Spectoresque Wall Of Sound drug-mad genius, and occasionally countered and softened by the lovely voice of Michele Madden, Blackie’s voice is hushed and intimate, dripping with melody and madness, like Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam… but on acid not bourbon.

Opener All Is Forgotten is as delicate as a flower and enough to make you almost whiplash as you double take thinking about who exactly this is!  We’re not in punk-land any more, Toto!  Looking For The Devil In Every Detail is a string-laden (courtesy of Samantha Fonti) dark and twisted tale of impending disaster while Algebra And Calculus is a dramatic and quirky piece of beauty with – again – a divine melody.

Water Colours boasts a sublime melodic triumph amidst an almost accapella soundscape, before evolving into the simplest of melodic choruses, and Cloud Nine features a touchingly bittersweet duet between Blackie and Madden – the acoustapunk equivalent of Zooey Deschanel’s voice.

There are, of course, some (slight) similarities with Hard-Ons’ work – as to be expected with the same singer/guitarist, but this is an unmistakably solo and diverse album far removed from Black’s day job.  For instance, Bus Catcher is just plain sea shanty weird, yet Black pulls it off even whilst singing “the cat won’t lick ya when ya smell like milk, man” to a cello & acoustic guitar backing, whilst Under Hipsupposedness is heavy on the Beach Boys.  Album closer Pity Ya Hearts A Bubble Cause I’m Such A Prick starts off as a handclap filled Magic Bus-alike, before slowing down to a lament, Black trying to make amends, perhaps, for past mistakes – “Sorry to everyone that I’ve caused pain. It’s not my intention and it wasn’t my aim”.  Once again this refrain, delivered with only the sparsest of vocals, is incredibly catchy and memorable.

That Black is a talented musician has never been in doubt – his work with Hard-Ons as a guitarist, singer and songwriter has been manifest and influential.  That he was an artist has never been more apparent than right now, as “No Dangerous Gods In Tunnel” is a work of a rather twisted, but very musically clever, mind.

Citadel Records also has 2 bonus tracks available for free download – HERE – which is also where you can order this majestic slab!



Category: CD Reviews

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