Black Lungs – Send Flowers

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Black Lungs

Send Flowers - Dine Alone Records

Wade MacNeil has been promising this record for a very long time. In countless interviews, the guitarist from Alexisonfire had commented on the solo project saying it would be coming soon. That “soon” never actually came until well after a year of promotion. Now MacNeil’s solo project, under the pseudonym Black Lungs is ready and I can’t help but feel that Send Flowers was well worth the wait.

A Blessing and A Curse kicks off the EP somewhat awkwardly. With the strum of an acoustic guitar and repeated, echoey vocals that repeat “We’re getting closer to Babylon” over and over again, the song sounds like a mixture of Dear Tonight and Thrice – particularly with the vocal similarities to Dustin Kensrue. From then on though, Black Lungs leaves those similarities behind to create a sound that is unique to themselves. Merging some piano styles of The Hold Steady with the energetic vocal delivery of Bombshell Rocks together in a very deep, dark and echoey room, Send Flowers is a mixture of of acoustic folk with scruffy punk and some indie inklings.

Pianist Sammi Boglanski helps MacNeil by creating a contrast to his gruffer, throat heavy vocals while Attack In Black‘s Ian Romano successfully keeps the tempo with his folk-punk style of drumming. It all works together to create a sound that feels very intimate and cohesive as each element softly builds on another. Some songs are more vocal heavy (Fire and Brimstone) while others are more energetic, making their folk-punk influences much more prominent (These Moments Define Us). Whatever the style, Send Flowers still gives off a feeling of intimacy and MacNeil’s lyrics help support that sensation by adding yet another level of intimate darkness to it. Songs about drug usage, cancer, death and one moving song about the timeless songs that touch our souls give the record a slightly somber tone which elevates the gloominess of the music.

Despite the slightly rocky start on A Blessing and A CurseSend Flowers immediately appealed to me and upon the first listen I was liking it a lot. I’ve played the thirty minute EP over a dozen more times since then and with each passing play it seems to grow on me more. It’s better than City & Colour‘s offerings as it is slightly rawer which gives it a stronger edge. It’s better than the average Alexisonfire song because, well, it’s drastically different than Alexisonfire; and while it probably won’t grow to surpass either band in popularity, Wade MacNeil has given us a record that he can be very proud of.