The Black Tears

I’ve always been weary of the phrase ‘re-imagining a classic,’ just for the connotations of altering an item of much adoration so it fits in with a modern mindset. More often than not in musical terms, that would come in the form of cover versions of songs, in which a change in tempo or even musical style could bring about that phrase, for opening the minds of people, to thinking of the original beloved version in an entirely different way. This is by no means a new concept in the industry, but allow me to give it some context. The 90’s are making a comeback, long story short, and whilst I remain dejected or indifferent about less-than-to-be desired trends and genres of music, some I’m pleasantly content for a revival of. By their own admission, Nuneaton’s The Black Tears are ‘unapologetically influenced’ by the Seattle grunge scene, traces of their work certainly recalling Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains to name but a few. This female-fronted four piece not only invoke that spirit of angst and disenchanted youth, but their taming of a now iconic sound has settled into a bluesier territory, making for a very intriguing listen. Their past EPs and album very much were piloting a straight-up emulation, but greater experience on stage and on the road is moulding them into a truly enthralling beast of a band, especially on the basis of their most recent double A side single Liquid Fabulous. While the title track itself is belted out in a siren-fronted Soundgarden-esque dreamstate, it’s the flipside La Ghooste that fuses the new found blues flavour into the grunge counterpart, to form what resembles a melancholy soul ballad as performed by a lightly downtuned Alice In Chains. The plucking of bass at the beginning with the reverb of the guitar swipes gives the mood an atmospheric haze that with vocalist Lischana Lane’s velvet tones, sets the scene for a smouldering performance. Verses remain a quieter affair, melodies from the guitars teasing an inevitable shift in amplitude, but giving an aura of tragedy to the words spoken. Drums propel the pace steadily, prominent and powerful, yet never overcomplicated or detracting from the forte of the vocals. It slots perfectly into the tone and ambience of the storytelling. Reaching the chorus, that Alice In Chains overdrive kicks in with the guitars delivering the right sorrow-tinged notes in a heavier persona, even adding some wailing into the equation for good measure, all the while with vocals spreading wings before soaring into the skies. The last minute certainly infers as much, an impressive vocal range in numerous altitudes, to the tune of guitars twisting tension in the closing moments. The blues-infused grunge dream weaving of The Black Tears is an utterly fascinating experience, one that deserves far greater recognition. There lays the workings of sheer brilliance in their rendition of grunge’s finest, wringing the raw emotion and energy out of the sound beautifully, but in shaping it with another of history’s greatest sounds, the label of a classic reinvention never seems more appropriate.

Their most recent EP Liquid Fabulous from April last year, 2013’s Philosophy Of Perception EP and 2012’s album Lacrimal Lake are all available from most respectable music retailers for a reasonable fee. In the meantime, they have a website you should be looking at for their gigs and other things.

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