The Black Box Revelation – Set Your Head on Fire (T4 Tunes)

Barry Healy | Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Black Box Revelation – Set Your Head on Fire (T4 Tunes)

The Black Box Revelation are Belgian duo 19-year-old Jan Paternoster (guitar/vocals) and 17-year-old Dries Von Dijck (drums) who have built a solid reputation in their native land. The band's sound is a fierce fusion of blues, rock 'n' roll, guitar excess and immense drumming; think The White Stripes, BRMC, and The Stooges all mixed together with youthful expression and downright recklessness.

The album is incredibly impressive yet very simplistic; it is full of repeated dirty blues guitar riffs and thundering drumming which combine to create an almost unimaginable raucous level of volume.

The album opens in furious fashion with ‘Love, Love On My Mind’, a high tempo riff-laden blues explosion complete with screeching vocals. This leads nicely into the simply irresistible ‘I Think I Like You’; it's one of the best songs you are likely to hear this year, with simply amazing drumming which is easily up there with ‘Atlas’ by Battle. This aside, the raw guitar riffs and gruff vocals blend together perfectly with the drums, leaving you craving for more.

Luckily there is more with ‘Gravity Blues’, a meandering country blues song evoking feelings of summer sunshine. They step away from tradition on ‘Love In Your Head’, using a drum machine and tons of distortion to create a kind of baggy come blues buzz, so much so that you would be forgiven for thinking it was Tim Burgess singing. It's back to the blues with ‘Stand Your Ground’ and ‘Never Alone, Always Together’, with the latter slowing things down a little with its rather sombre tone.

Its riffs, riffs and more dirty riffs with ‘Cold Cold Hands’, ‘We Never Wondered Why’ and ‘Set Your Head On Fire’, which is like a jovial jaunt in the sun with absolutely no worries; it is accompanied by sweet vocal delivery, conjuring up memories of Ray Davies in the Kinks' hay day. The album finishes on a real high note in ‘I Don't Want It’, a seriously guitar heavy, often purposefully overindulgence completed by a tirade of rasping and raging vocals.

This album is a very straightforward and simple affair which endeavours to create an endearing charm through its simplicity, honesty and in the way that it retains its reckless and raw sound. The only real criticism that can be levelled is that, at ten tracks, it is a little short. It's definitely one of the best albums so far this year in terms of straight up rock 'n' roll, and is perhaps the album Kings of Leon could have made if they hadn’t decided to go all-out stadium rock.

Rating: 4.5/5