r-9366760-1479368598-8523-jpegBlack Nail Cabaret
, were introduced to audiences in 2012 through their self-released debut albumEmerald City’. The release ofHarry Me Marry Me Bury Me Bite Mein 2015 painted a clearer picture of the aesthetic vocabulary that the original duo of Emese Árvai- Illés and Sophie Tarr would use. The band originally consisted of Emese , Sophie and Krisztian Árvai in the role of producer/ songwriter but since July 2016 when Sophie left, BNC are Emese and Krisztian among other collaborators. While the band ‘paints’ their music in dark colours of different tones, ranging from the lightest tones that hark back to the glorious days  of german synth pop to the darkest tones of the more existential minimal post-punk, their video clips reveal an equal fascination with the first surrealist movies, grotesque theatre, gothic horror and Italian neorealism. It therefore becomes imperative to notice both the music and the visuals in order to get a grasp of the band’s take on the subjects of their lyrics and their artistic points of view in general.

In 2015, I had the opportunity to see BNC perform live, while opening for Cold In Berlin and it was then, that all these elements that I had picked up as I listened to their music at home, were crystallized by the powerful stage appearance and the artistic professionalism that wrapped up their performance and their music.

A promising start to an upcoming album

Dichromat’-Expected release date: December 23, 2016 by Basic Unit Productions

The subjects…

Now, one year since the release of   ‘Harry Me Marry Me Bury Me Bite MeEmese and Krisztian strike back with the release of two singles, ‘teasers’ for the upcoming album ‘Dichromat’ that is expected to be released on December 23, 2016. The title of the album is a greek word that means two colours and is also used to describe organisms with dichromacy ( the state of having two types of functioning color receptors in the eyes) and the two singles that have been released so far, are entitled “We Like To Suffer” and,Therapy“.
The lyrics in both songs deal with existential matters of different nature. “We Like To Suffer” seems to deal with the impact of the cruelty of a metropolis to the individual and specifically with the feelings of isolation, of being ignored, of not been given the time/space to be heard, of not finding justice or people willing to listen.

The videos…

Therapy” looks deep into the character’s psyche as it feels more like self-criticism than anything else. It is really interesting to see the different approaches that Black Nail Cabaret have taken in the videos of the two songs. In “We Like To Suffer” the black and white video, the style of the shots and the urban setting of The Barbican where the video was shot, brought immediately to my mind Orbital’s “The Box”. Watching Emese’s desperate attempt to find someone to listen to her, reveals some similarities with the character of Tilda Swinton as she desperately wanders around London at The Box’, an alien character in a city that works in manic ways. Whether Orbital was a reference point or not this is a fantastic approach by BNC towards the subject of the lyrics.

“Finding The Silver Lining without denying that the cloud is indeed black” (Marsha Linehan)

The video of “Therapy“, begins with a quote by Marsha Linehan, an american psychologist who is also the creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. “Therapy“, the tone and the style changes while we observe the main character as she encounters two different figures which might possibly allude to what the lyrics describe as two different psychological states, summarized by the words ‘breakdown’ and ‘smile’.

…words crawled off the paper I let them in, and let them out if they smile, I smile back but there is on who is trouble…”

bncThe first figure is always seen outdoors, in a beautiful natural environment, playful and happy. The second figure is always inside a dark abandoned building expressionless, patient and sinister. None of the two figures cross the boundaries of their setting and this made, the connection to the contrasting images that are created by the lyrics, clearer to me. Overall, this is a more theatrical video compared to the one of ‘We Like To Suffer’ and rightly so, as the lyrics describe a different story.

The music…

The music in both songs maintains the qualities that I personally love in the sound of Black Nail Cabaret, which are powerful rhythms with a deep sound that gives them texture and synth melodies interwoven with carefully positioned samples. Both songs are of slower rhythms compared for example, to the older (and more ‘catchy’) Butterflies’, Storm’ or Let Me In” and “The Critical Cult (of Dora). I like the addition of choral vocals at the instrumental parts in “Therapy”, because I’ve found that they add a sinister dimension to the delivery of the lyrics which is in line with the aesthetic of the masked figure that we see in the video clip.

Black Nail Cabaret, have offered us some glimpses of their upcoming work and we can’t wait to listen to the full length album and of course watch the band perform live again in London!

Blaue Rosen box

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