"Push" by Black Water Fiend

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"Push" by Black Water Fiend

Review

Once again I find myself apologising to a band for their belated first mention in the magazine: this time it's the turn of Black Water Fiend whose single "Push" landed this morning. In an attempt at mitigation, I should point out that members of the band have cropped up here (and indeed on ‘Hot Music Live Presents' albums as members of bands such as Downdraft & Never Apart (check out "Different Wings" on HMLP 10 and "Sick Of It" on HMLP 7 respectively), though not necessarily playing the same instruments as they do in this band. What talented people.

At which point I do need to say who they are: Danny Starkey, on vocals, Sam Martin on guitar, Kurt Sidwell who plays drums & Rhys Scott, the bassist.

Developing from a university based trio a mere five years ago, they now play nationally and internationally, have national airplay for their music, won "Godiva Calling" at the first time of asking and have been accumulating accolades throughout.

 It's perhaps not too surprising to find that Black Water Fiend members have individually worked with others: as noted increasingly often of late in "Hot Music Live", there is a very noticeable wave of excellent, thoughtful & original louder bands locally these days & in stark contrast to relatively recent eras in Coventry & Warwickshire music, one hallmark of this is mutual support, collaboration & I imagine inspiration. I'm sure a healthy sense of competition drives each of these bands to improve what they are doing, but the culture is collegiate not arrogant.

Their first release since last year's "Wish You Well", "Push" is quite a symphonic type of rock song: in fact it seems to nod its head in several different directions (a good idea which helps swerve round the dangers of generic cliches): the vocal is both mixed quite unusually for a rock track and delivered likewise. If you isolated it, you might assume it to belong to more of an indie type band. Equally the lyrics don't go for your standard themes for the genre. It sounds like Black Water Fiend would rather not imprison themselves within the expectations of others. Again this chimes with another set of conversations I've been holding with a range of musicians recently around what is distinguishing those bands currently rewriting what locally based music can be & those fading away in comparison. That is to say the difference between desperately wanting to fit in and those wanting to sound different.

Black Water Fiend are another group with highly proficient players who seem happy to be doing what they do & most importantly serving "Push" rather than showing off their skills. And that's another criterion which regular readers know I favour.

Produced by Jay Shredder (whom the band are very keen to credit), the sound, as noted previously, is not what people expecting a "rock track" might necessarily expect. Giving the vocals rather more room than "normally" is the case, they sit prominently on an unusually mixed backing where the other elements seem blended at times into a claustrophobic space (I would imagine this has a lot to do with honouring & giving extra voice to the lyrics) from which they are allowed to break out periodically (again, reflecting the words).

Black Water Fiend play the O2 in Birmingham tomorrow with an After Party at the Subside Bar in Digbeth and also on the bill are ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Ten' featured stars Monastery (definitely one of the bands I was alluding to above) plus Serenity and Crowned Hyenas.

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