Review: Black Cab | Games Of the XXI Olympiad

It is clear that Black Cab are keen admirers of aesthetics. The album cover is derived from the Bauhaus style of the Montreal Olympic Games, held in 1976. An apt visual counterpart to their very late 70s, early 80s rumbling electro-pop. Black Cab have excelled with their fourth album, producing a record that is sonically refined.

In a world where electronic music is plagued by tracks that just build toward a huge drop, Black Cab depart from the norm, favouring heavy four minute progressive songs. It is easy to draw comparisons to Joy Division, experts of this somewhat melancholic sound and structure. Coincidentally, Joy Division formed in 1976, the same year as the Montreal Games… But to compare the sounds of Black Cab to the distinct sounds of Joy Division is almost a cop out. Games Of the XXI Olympiad is an absolute feast of nostalgia as they grab samples of audio from the Montreal Games, and seamlessly create a narrative as exciting as an actual Olympic Games.

The band take us from the ‘Opening Ceremony’ right through to the ‘Closing Ceremony’, exploring along the way different tempos, moods, and sounds. The second track, Supermädchen, is a real deep, bass-heavy dance song, bringing to mind the feverish excitement of a 100m sprint final. Victorious incorporates an Australian sound, with guitars and synth melding into a beat reminiscent of Yothu Yindi.

Black Cab

Black Cab

Go Slow, the second single from the album, harkens back to the perfectly styled long form electro made famous by New Order. It is this hypnotic and incredibly addictive bass/hi-hat combination that makes Go Slow the best song on the record. Near the end, the German influence on Black Cab returns with Sexy Polizei. This is the closest Black Cab get to a top 40 song structure, but once again they completely shun the expected by adding an incredible amount of distortion to the vocal tracks, and sending the guitar into a heavenly wail complete with intense reverb.

By the time Closing Ceremony comes along Black Cab have really displayed their musical ability. Although at times it does seem as if they are jumping on the success of Jagwar Ma, a band with undeniably similar musical influences, they have indeed created their own sound.

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