Progressive Punk?!

Some said it couldn’t be done, but, finally, it has. Wire and The Stranglers both had a good stab at it in the late 70s. But, we are now seeing what happens when you cross-breed two seemingly incompatible musical genres.

For the First Time (2021) by Black Country, New Road

It started in 2021 with Black Country, New Road‘s debut album For the First Time. It was a Post-Punk album with clever arrangements and striking contrasts. It was closely followed by Squid‘s debut album Bright Green Field. This was arguably more Post-Punk than Prog, but the extended instrumental sections begged to differ.

Bright Green Field (2021) by Squid

Black Midi, who had been getting a name for their blazing rapid-fire controlled explosive music and Mercury Prize nomination, finally harnessed their full potential, and dropped Hellfire! on an unsuspecting public.

Hellfire (2022) by Black Midi

Their third album is a dizzying whirlwind of genre-hopping, face-slapping, sprinting thrash-laden, crooning horror. It’s an eloquent, masterful album, with equal measures of raw power, Dadaist technical brilliance and Zappa-esque humour. The first time I played the album, I couldn’t listen to anything else for at least an hour, my senses had been so assaulted.

Motorbike (2022) by Blue Bendy

Struggling to follow this up in 2023, I eventually stumbled upon the Motorbike EP from 2022, by another young band called Blue Bendy. A bit less Post-Punk and a bit more Progressive, their music is bristling with ideas, condensing a huge array of sounds, rhythms and emotions into their songs.

Blue Bendy’s music is so dense, it might be a difficult listen for some people. But it is saved by their sweet and delicious sounds, which reward the listener with new layers with every play. I have played this at least once almost every day this year, making it a clear winner of my ‘album’ of the year, without either being an album, nor released this year.

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