Black County Communion was poised to become one of my favorite groups of the 2010s. Their brand of Zeppelin-influenced rock was especially authentic thanks to the statuses of its contributors, and I still view their second album as an underrated classic. Their potential seemed to be cut short when disagreements between guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa and lead singer/bassist Glen Hughes led to a rocky album in 2012. Fortunately, a change of heart has led to the group’s comeback and first album in five years.
While BCCIV sees Black Country Communion’s signature sound preserved despite the time away, it is a decidedly mellower affair than the past three efforts. You won’t find any speedy rockers in the vein of “Black Country” or “The Outsider” on here, and the album’s more straightforward tracks don’t quite have the same punchy stomps as before. Oddly enough, the album isn’t quite as somber either, and approaches its blues/folk excursions in a way that is more laid back than melancholic.
Thankfully, this approach doesn’t keep the album from having some good, diverse songs attached to it. “Over My Head” and “Sway” are both bouncy rockers that make themselves distinct by a few almost yodeled vocal lines on the former, while the latter features a more intricate guitar melody and prominent keyboard work. “The Cove” may come out as the album’s best song thanks to a steady blues beat reminiscent of Free’s “Heartbreaker.” Figures that Bonamassa and Hughes had covered that song some time back…
Black Country Communion’s fourth full-length album is a rather cautious listen. The band seems to be testing the waters and making sure that they can still do this before they dive straight back into it. It doesn’t have a lot of heavy hitting tracks, but the more subtle songwriting suggests that it may take a little extra time for this to really feel the full impact. But if the band is really back, then we’ll have to see how things work out when their next album is inevitably hot off the presses a year or two from now.
“Over My Head”
“The Last Song for My Resting Place”