It is virtually impossible to describe Black Poets’ music without mentioning Interpol. They use all the New York band’s favourite elements from the robotic vocals and nagging guitars to the crisp percussion and general air that all is not right in their world. ‘Innocents And Thieves’ is the Black Poets’ debut album and it certainly sounds like a first record.
Positioned as the second track, ‘Mistakes’ is clearly one of the main calling cards from ‘Innocents And Thieves’. Here, the slow, moody verses build into what should be an exhilarating chorus; its only fault really being that this formula has been done so many times before by not only Interpol but also Editors, The Departure and many more British acts. “Oh baby, do you wanna fly the streets of New York tonight?” Gerald LeCain sings on ‘Amnesty’ and you suspect he would like nothing more than to travel there and rub shoulders with his heroes.
However, this young London-based band are not without merit. ‘Naivety’ is elevated by a cracking riff and a surging instrumental coda and ‘Paris 1932’ coaxes a decent falsetto from LeCain. The title track is also rather fine; once again the song is encircled in an escalating melody and the sense of urgency about it is nailed to perfection. Kudos too for the final song ‘Irene’, where Black Poets manage to convey yearning and longing within a relatively intricate framework.
In fairness, there are far worse bands Black Poets could have emulated and – as mentioned before – some of these songs work pretty well but much like White Lies, they seem to be treading the same ground rather than developing the genre further. Maybe the second album will be the one where they really make their mark.
Interpol, Editors, White Lies, The Departure