Jonathan Bates returns with his alter ego Big Black Delta and third electronic-synth album ‘Trágame Tierra’. It sounds just as rhythmic and punchy as the title reads. If you’re looking for an understated blend of Muse, M83, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk and Future Islands, then this album is for you.

This new release is not as dark or gritty as his previous eponymously titled album. But some of his tracks like ‘Money Rain Down’ still echo into ‘Trágame Tierra’.

The first track ‘H.A.’ warps into a seamless and serene space of nostalgia, where auto-tune acapella vocals chant “it all keeps coming back”. The second track, ‘Steer the Canyon’, explodes with punchy kick-drums. Tracks like ‘Kid Icarus’ and ‘Bitten by the Apple’ races with adrenaline-inducing synths. Vocals from 80s heart-throb Debbie Gibson in ‘RCVR’ would fit in a scene of a teenage romance set in some manga cartoon.

You have to continuously remind yourself that this is all created from a laptop – nothing else. Tracks like ‘It’s Okay’ sound like an indie-pop band … even a clarinet pops up in ‘Strange Cakes’. Bates’ sheer talent in electronic music production is impressive. Glitchy, discordant synth sounds resurface in tracks like ‘RCVR’ to just remind you it’s a one-man band. ‘Well My Heart’ and ‘Let’s Go Home’ verges on Americana, something to add to a playlist if you are on the road for some time. Lyrics describe how “you’ll never be alone” in ‘Let’s Go Home’, infusing elements of modern gospel and empowering drum solos. The final track, ‘Trágame Tierra’, is ten minutes long and leaves you to revel in the odyssey this album has just taken you through. This piece is almost classical.

Previous band member of rock band Mellodrone, Bates has clearly flourished as a musician in his solo career, and is relishing in the experimental transition. Bates is sitting alongside the likes of other post-genre artists like Lorde, the 1975 and the Weeknd. Ever wanted to know what elements of gospel, country, 80s dance sounds like in one album? Go for this one. If you are one for consistency, however, then step aside. This one likes to play with a lot of genres.

‘Trágame Tierra’ is out on the 22nd April via Pledge Music.

This Big Black Delta article was written by Fina Charleson. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.

Big Black Delta ‘Trágame Tierra’ - ALBUM REVIEW

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