The Black Roses have been one of my favourite bands for months now, with a brilliant pure indie rock edge to them. The four piece are made up of Anthony (lead vocals and guitar), Mike (drummer), Val (bassist) and Richard (lead guitarist), and have been around for about a year and a half now, having formed back in September 2015. Based in London, The Black Roses have a brilliant sense of classic indie rock to their music, with ridiculously catchy and enthralling tunes. I met the band last summer for an interview, and it’s crazy to see how much has been going on for them since; they’ve been gigging extensively in London, and released their debut EP Utopia last week. Utopia really embodies what’s so wonderful about indie rock music. It’s got this sense of classic nostalgia to it, taking you right back to that 2000s indie sound, similar to bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. Utopia is composed of four tracks; Utopia, Bad Habits, Nobody Puts My Baby In The Corner, and She Makes The Rain Dance.
Opening up the EP, you get title track Utopia– Utopia is a more soothing indie track, definitely the least heavy and gritty on the EP. The guitar is really fun on this track, and it has this very chilled and calm aura to it. There’s a brilliant buildup to the chorus which features brilliant blaring guitar and soft drumming tying the track together. The foundations of the EP are really impressive, and the band have a very professional and polished sound to them. Anthony’s vocal on Utopia is fantastic too, especially on the line ‘she’s like golden beach sand, so hot should come with a warning,’ a gritty emphasis placed on this line in particular. Next is Bad Habits, which is the track that drew me to the band first time I heard of them last summer. The chorus has a really raw catchy riff, played over Val’s deep heavy bass line. The riffs throughout the track are explosive, with a really rough deep sound, taking the EP more towards heavier darker indie rock than the soft classic sound set out by the title track. It’s that heavy rich riff near the end of the track which gives it so much rigour; crashing down with Anthony’s rough proper rock vocals, the track maintains a controlled element throughout, with the bass and guitar intertwining perfectly to create that brilliantly catchy riff..
Nobody Puts My Baby In The Corner plays next, and there’s one word to define this track: heavy. It opens with the most enthralling bass riff, very groovy and funky with an upbeat feel good vibe. The guitar kicks in as a riff rather than sharp chords, before the chorus crashes down with the lyrics ‘nobody puts my baby in the corner, you should already know.’ Anthony’s vocals are extremely accented and raw, with that rough English bite which is so unique to the classic indie rock sound embodied in the EP. I love the focus on the guitar too, with the lead and bass being a central focus of the track; this just makes for a heavy build up of guitar rock, with this wonderfully authentic rock’n’roll sound. She Makes The Rain Dance is one of my favourite tracks in general, and it’s got that unique guitar sound which really defines this EP. ‘I lose my mind all the time‘ Anthony sings, ‘I lose my mind a thousand times over’ with the guitar playing brilliantly over this. The soft ‘oohs’ in the background add an extra dimension to the track, and that’s what I like so much about the EP; each track is so well written and cleverly created, with those meticulous riffs and soft drum riffs and loops building up to create an undeniably brilliant sound. It seems there’s been a rise in the view recently that guitar music is dead, but She Makes The Rain Dance as a single track alone defies this perception completely.
EP rating: ★★★★☆