Barnsley based label Of National Importance Records enhance their growing reputation with the release of The Black Lamps debut album. Having already turned plenty of ears on to the likes of Alvarez Kings, The Exhibition, McCarthy Vigil and Aztec Doll this DIY label has chosen to showcase the well honed talents of The Black Lamps.
From the first few bars of opening track “The Archivist” a warm glow washes over you along with a strong hunch that the subsequent ten tracks are going to become an integral part of your remaining years. The Black Lamps already feels like a staple album from your carefree youth, awakening memories of early British Sea Power and The Wedding Present whilst summoning up visions of winter drives through the Peak District.
The album gradually gathers pace through “Casa Disco”, their tribute to an independent record shop in Barnsley which has long since ceased to exist, and “Colour 8” before stepping up a gear with “The Smoking Party”. The jangly guitars and the increasing layers, and pace, of the bass are reminiscent of New Order as the song builds towards one final, memorable, chorus.
The members of The Black Lamps have been around for a while, in various other projects in a variety of different styles, before joining forces. This fusion of skills and penchants for wide ranging genres is evident throughout. The majority of the tracks glide from ambient to atmospheric and invigorating, fully incorporating each. If you were to daydream whilst listening to this on a bus you could suddenly find yourself somewhere unexpected, and this is a very obvious and unimaginative metaphor for just how this album operates. One moment you are quietly content enjoying the spectral soundscape they have created then without your consent you are excitable and energised without fully knowing how this change in your mentality occurred. It is a piece of work that can easily sidetrack you from whatever you were meant to be doing but you won’t care, especially after the joyous feeling that the finale of “Scissors, Paper, Stone” leaves you with.
The Black Lamps is available digitally from http://ofnationalimportancerecords.co.uk/ , iTunes and all the usual places, but if you wish to purchase the C.D. or the 12″ then you can find stock in such fine establishments as Rough Trade East (London), Debut Records and Vinyl Underground (Barnsley), Wah Wah Records (Wakefield), Jumbo Records (Leeds) and Piccadilly Records (Manchester).