Ants From Up There

Dominating post-rock in the modern age


Max Beitzel, asst. features editor

Ants From Up There is the phenomenal second studio album from British post-rock band Black Country, New Road. It is a loose concept album that displays a heartbroken and melancholy protagonist throughout their life story. The main singer Isaac Wood, who left the band four days before the release of the album due to mental health issues, provides heart-breaking and passionate vocals throughout the album over a mix of drums, saxophone, keys, bass, synths, and guitars. Wood’s vocals are by far the most intriguing and best aspect of the album, made only better by the beautiful and intricate instrumentation. 

The first song, “Intro” is a short instrumental song that introduces the instruments that will follow in the album, as the title may suggest. It also acquaints listeners with the upbeat tempo that many of the songs will follow. “Intro” is a short but sweet track followed by a somewhat smooth transition into “Chaos Space Marine”.

“Chaos Space Marine” introduces vocalist Wood and highlights the beauty his vocals provide to the album, as well as continuing the upbeat tempo. The lyrics on this track are gripping and intensely emotional due to Wood’s cadence.

“Concorde” follows and slows the pace of the album dramatically, highlighting the range the band has. However, I feel this track is overshadowed by those that follow it. “Bread Song” has a similar speed as “Concorde” and is a slower track that paints another story of a heartbroken Wood. “Good Will Hunting’’ is one of the higher moments of the album due to the background vocals from the rest of the band, which only makes Isaac’s lyrics more heart-wrenching. 

“Mark’s Theme” is a type of halfway point for listeners due to the following three songs taking up almost half of the runtime.

My personal favorite on the album, “The Place Where He Inserted the Blade”, begins with slow keys and guitars that lead into an upbeat instrumental in the chorus. The instrumental combined with Isaac’s lyrics paint an emotionally gripping seven minute song.  The piano on this song is one of the most memorable aspects of the entire album, and the lyrics once again encapsulate the pain displayed through the piano.

“Snow Globes” is a nine-minute track that somewhat overstays its welcome, especially with the three-minute instrumental introduction, but also plays a key role in the second half of the album. “Snow Globes” leads into the final song and the most musically talented part of the album, “Basketball Shoes”.

“Basketball Shoes” is a three-part, 12-minute song that describes the fantasy Wood has about another pop singer, Charli XCX. In the song, he describes the frustration and agony he feels when he is unable to grasp her love. This is perfectly encapsulated in his screaming lyrics and pain in his voice in the third section of the song. This 12-minute cinematic piece of art should be reason enough for your time.

Overall, Ants From Up There is an astonishing album filled with fantastic, raw vocals over lively and inspiring instrumentation and is unfortunately overlooked by the mainstream media in the scheme of albums this year. An album this emotionally gripping and captivating should not be overlooked, so give it a listen.