Album Premiere: Black Books – “Can’t Even”

Black Books
Photography by Susi Brister / Layout & Design by Clarke Curtis

We’ve got an exclusive album premiere from Austin band, Black Books with their long anticipated LP, “Can’t Even” 

Can’t Even thrives in dualities — debilitating sadness and exalting joy, bitter endings and expectant beginnings, lost love and new hope. Since their eponymous debut LP released in 2013 by UK-based Believe Recordings — and a subsequent tour opening for The Flaming Lips — the Austin-based indie/dream pop band has experienced monumental changes: births and deaths, marriages and divorces, losing and gaining members. The result of this tumultuous but transformative period is this stunning sophomore effort.

Can’t Even is a poignant record brimming with melancholy, punctuated by moments of pure elation. The album can be defiant and bold, and at other times plaintive and searching. The resultant songs highlight a mature band that continues to explore expansive soundscapes. Each of the 11 songs on Can’t Even has diverse traits: confessional but guarded, scintillating but deep and dark. The songs carry listeners through the depths of grief, the fog of coping, and the light and transcendence of moving on.

Black Books has crafted an extraordinarily agile record that accomplishes so much musically, from stripped down, heart-rending songs like “Heaven Help Us” to driving dream pop songs like “Really Nice To See You.” Much of Can’t Even was recorded, mixed, and mastered at the band’s long-time home studio and refuge in Austin, Test Tube Audio, owned and operated by the band’s guitarist, songwriter, and producer, Kevin Butler. Recording also took place at The Fathom Tree Studio and Orb Recording Studio, both in Austin.

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