The Black Ships, "Dead Empires" Looking to the past for inspiration can prove tricky and downright foolish if you're not well-versed enough to understand why you should be drawing upon those artists in the first place. For nostalgic New York fuzzed-out dream rockers The Black Ships, however, this understanding seems ingrained in every note and chord they play. It's obvious that bands such as Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen have played a considerable part in their formative musical upbringing, but there is also an energetic, rebellious tint to the music that comes solely from The Black Ships.
With their newest single, "Dead Empires," the band furthers this mysterious and dark melodicism, creating a sound that's as equally indebted to those prior influences as it is to the band's own sense of musical discovery. This song feels half-buried, caked in distortion and dirt. But despite this unhinged exterior, there is a seriously catchy melody at its heart, and The Black Ships know enough to let it run wild for as long as it wants. The guitars spin and slice through the air while the drums conjure images of darkened underground bars in the early '80s. The Black Ships are carrying the mantle passed on by a handful of genres that provided the necessary impetus for each member's own musical awareness, and doing it without even breaking a sweat.