“I like working alone and also I like collaborating.” Andy Ellis’ seemingly dualistic statement may have been an irreconcilable conundrum in a previous age, but thankfully the technology of the modern world means that he can still weave his magic with the other half of Black Lab, Paul Durham via the long distance file-sharing that the internet allows.
In a previous life Black Lab were a San Francisco, then L.A.-based, major label band, one with a not unreasonable success rate at getting their music used in Hollywood blockbusters. The current two-piece, post- Epic/Geffen version of the band seems more content to be creative barbarians storming the gates of a west-coast Rome, given weight and therefore no small amount of power in the great game by an army of loyal fans and a knack of building very successful fund raising and social media campaigns.
And ironically, after wilfully re-positioning themselves further away from the glitz and glamour of that world, their latest release, In A Moment, seems to be their most cinematic to date, a film-synch shoo in, if ever their was one. The song was written after Paul Durham’s more to Montana, a region not known to be that vital in the history of music*, but perhaps that is the point and there is certainly the sound of wide-open spaces, big skies and empty landscapes woven through the music.
In A Moment is a wonderfully drifting, alt-electronic-ambient-pop piece, one that seems built as much on sonic emotions, heart-felt vocals and imploring lyrics as it is on the actual physical beats and musical washes which form its more tangible soul. It gradually gathers weight slow-burning its way to its logical conclusion, but the additional layers and textures are deftly wrought, adding subtle colour around the edges of the song rather than unbalancing the atmospheric space and inherent delicacy of the song.
A gorgeous hymn to the transitory nature of existence, a reminder to make the most of this one life you have and done so in such an elegant and eloquent way. If you are looking for a more succinct review try this.
*Apologies to Jeff Ament and Charley Pride