Think not that The Black’s band name sheds any light (pun intended) on the band’s sound. Impressions of dark and gothic will be obliterated at first listen. This band may be obscure in its limited level of recognition but not in measuring the lightness of its sound. While the hue of black may be absent from the color wheel, it is actually the culmination of all colors. The opening track, “Freeway (Exiled)” on the album Sun In The Day Moon At Night is an immediate indication of this. With enough swing to knock over a ‘50’s sock hop, the tune quickly redirects the listener’s judgments to a lighter impression of The Black’s music.
As the Wikipedia definition of “Black” states: Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light. The same rings true for The Black band. Formed in 2002 and based in major music capital Austin, Texas, the Black’s third record demonstrates their ability to absorb several music influences and successfully weave them together in a cohesive album. Genres vary from country to rhythm and blues to rockabilly to swing, all tied together with a rock edge that keeps their music contemporary. The combination of electric guitar and harmonica conjures memories of 1950’s early rock ‘n’ roll that both The Black musicians as well as their listeners are too young to have. The Austin American Statesman reviewed the album and remarked, “Clearly, [tracks from Sun In The Day Moon At Night] should have been on the soundtrack for I’m Not There” (the Bob Dylan Bio-pic).
This quote reveals an interesting point about the album. The Black clearly attempts to channel an anachronistic sound, and like the film I’m Not There its capabilities are limited to only showcasing a time period. While playing Sun In the Day Moon At Night may create a compromise between parents and children when choosing music for long car rides, The Black is not Bob Dylan. Their music may sound similar, but like Bob Dylan, The Black needs to find its own identity within its contemporary music market. A retrospective resonance is always welcome, but it should always work in tandem with a band’s own spin. Vintage inspiration can still have fresh interpretation, especially when it is coming from an Indie band that produces its material on its own record label, K WOO.