New York’s Bootblacks Return With New Single “Wilderness”

I remember every dawn, every breath
Every word, every step
I can remember everything
I’m new again…

New York’s Bootblacks has remained a prominent force on the scene, dating back to their inception in 2010. This year has proven a busy one, including a triumphant return to the stage and and a lineup shift marking a new era for the band. Hot off the heels of their successful tour with Twin Tribes, the band has planted seeds for their anxiously awaited fifth LP, Paradise, due out on Artoffact Records in 2024. The LP will be their first as a trio, with vocalist Panther Almqvist and synth player/programmer Barrett Hiatt joined by Kalle Falleberg, formerly of German post-punk favorites Liste Noire. We’re honored to premiere the second single from Paradise, titled “Wilderness.” Listen below:

“Wilderness” begins with swirling, ominous synth tones before giving way to a shuffling electronic beat and throbbing synth bass. Almqvist quickly delivers the opening lyric and immediately, the track opens up with driving synth melody courtesy of Hiatt that would make Depeche Mode stalwart Alan Wilder stop dead in his tracks. Newcomer Kalle Falleberg’s descending guitar lines, which recall Bowie sideman Carlos Alomar’s rhythm-based licks, are sprinkled throughout the track, which also incorporates a series of spoken word and falsetto passages from Almqvist. Whereas previous Bootblacks material has always featured deep electronic flourishes among a post-punk bedrock, “Wilderness” (and previous single “Forbidden Flames“) mark a welcome shift to a more synth pop-enriched sound, aided in part by producer Xavier Paradis (Automelodi). As such, “Wilderness” is ripe for the dancefloor, yet retains the band’s trademark penchant for top-shelf songwriting. Shades of Technique-era New Order, Duran Duran’s eponymous 1993 LP, and the aforementioned Depeche Mode run deep through the track, these touchstones launching the band into full electro-bliss. Frankly, we’re here for it.

Almqvist offers a bit of insight to the band’s new direction:

We have been trying to experiment more with electronic music and sounds on this album. “Wilderness” is one of those songs where we’ve incorporated stricter electro elements and is representative towards the new approach and style we’re building on the album. We’re big fans of juxtaposition so its tone and structure are somewhat darker but yet still upbeat.

“Wilderness” will be available via to stream via Spotify and to purchase via Bandcamp and iTunes. Be sure to give the track a spin or three, as it’ll be sure to keep you warm during the long winter months.

Header photo by Rose Callahan
Frank Deserto

Bassist of The Harrow, curator/writer at Cherry Red Records, and blogger at Systems of Romance.

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