Vivid Images and Resonating Emotions: Black Country, New Road’s “Ants From Up There”


Lukas Werner

The deluxe edition CD features added artwork, and a live set on disc two.

Isaac Brown, Staff Reporter

While scrolling through TikTok in early February, I began to notice the name of a band I had not seen before. Numerous videos mentioned Black Country, New Road’s new release, and as I looked through the comments, I kept seeing accolades calling it a potential album of the year.

“Ants from Up There” was released on Feb. 4, and is the sophomore studio album from the English genre-bending band. 

After seeing so much hype about the album, I excitedly put on my Grado SR80e headphones and hit play. The next 59 minutes and 46 seconds blew me away. 

As all seven band members bring their unique instruments into the light in this song, listeners are swept away by the beautiful melodies and lagging harmonies. 

As the songs fade in and out of a rush of sounds, straight back to the introspective lyrics of singer Isaac Wood, the listener is overcome with a sense of presence in the musical moments heard throughout the album.

With 10 songs there is a full range of desire to be had, and this album delivers. 

Songs like “Concorde,” “Chaos Space Marine,” and “Good Will Hunting” offer a bold and powerful undertone to complement the slower songs within the album. 

“Bread Song,” “Haldern,” and “Snow Globes” slow down and offer the vocals of Wood in their rawest form. 

Then, we get to “The Place Where He Inserted the Blade,” a perfect balance of fast, slow, and melancholy.

The songs each vary in length, and with the longest song “Basketball Shoes,” being nearly 13 minutes long, it is no surprise that I feel such a connection to this album. 

Few albums have ever spoken to me like “Ants from Up There.” No matter what emotion I look to draw from the music, I have no trouble finding it. 

I felt so enthusiastic about this album that the day after I discovered it, I went to my local record store and bought a copy on CD. 

As I look at my Apple Music statistics for this year, I am not surprised to learn that this is my second most listened-to album so far.

The lyrics pull me into their vivid images and the extreme vulnerability that Wood puts forward. 

He sings, “And if we’re on a burning starship, the escape pods, filled with your friends, your childhood film photos, there’s no room for me to go,” on “Good Will Hunting.” A bright image of a man lost in space with dreams of traveling along with his partner is imprinted into the listener’s mind. 

One of my favorite lyrics of all time follows it up: he sings “Oh, I’d wait there, float with the wreckage, fashion a long sword, traverse the Milky Way, trying to get home to you, and you bring some piece of the stars.”

The dreamy and poignant cry for help has haunted my mind ever since I first heard it. However, I cannot help but feel inspired by the consistent power of the lyrics.

As I hear a man reach deep into the stars for a helping hand, it is a reminder to me of just how similar we all are.

After showing my friends this album, they have not been able to get away from it, much like myself. 

I would rate this album a 10/10. The perfect balance of talent, timing, and impact has deeply resonated within me, and I cannot seem to find any complaints about this masterpiece. 

I foresee this album being a monumental piece of my life for years to come, and I am hopeful that this album will carry me through the challenges that lie ahead.