It is rare, let’s be honest about this, that you go and watch a band and genuinely have no clue what you’ve just seen.

All I know is this: I’d bought a ticket for Sleaford Mods last year and got a press release about the support band the day before. Local lads – ish – to where I live, I went down, and within about five minutes of the two-piece being onstage I am texting my mate going: “I don’t know what’s going on here, but we’re seeing Big Special again.”

Which sort of brings us to “Postindustrial Hometown Blues”, the debut record of this most interesting of bands.

“Black Country Gothic” – which begins with a drum beat from Callum Moloney – soon becomes a working-class lament set to poetry by Joe Hicklin (and someday he’ll be Poet Laureate this boy) and while on one hand, you could say, “yeah ok, Sleaford Mods, Bob Vylan, they got this covered, haven’t they?” let me tell you the key difference here. When he fancies it, Hicklin has the richest, most primal blues voice you can imagine.

And bits of this are genuinely funny. “I Mock Joggers” offers that “I am a lapsed catholic, working on being asthmatic”, while its foray into post-punk “Desperate Breakfast” is a thing of dark beauty.

The gem of all this is the gloriously potty-mouthed “Shithouse” if only for the thought that “I had a brain wave and it fucking soaked me” and I can’t help but smile at the memory of the poor lady who was doing sign language at the gig….

“This Here Ain’t Water” runs it close though, as Hicklin sounds possessed, and the way it goes through a West Midlands bleak midwinter is starkly familiar.

In truth all of this is sensational. The pulsing “My Shape (Blocking Out The Light)” is like reading someone’s diaries through the darkness, likewise “Black Dog/White Horse” is a raw discussion on mental health that has touches of Nick Cave.

There’s just an innate acceptance of our lot in 2024 on “Broadcast: Time Away” which has dreams but knows it might not get there, while “Ill” is a glimpse into what this would have been if Big Special were a “normal” band who thought in a linear way. It would have been superb too. That they follow it up with the passion of the spoken word “Mongrel” is typical of the way they do it. Don’t follow lines, don’t fit in.

“Butchers Bin” has a tinge of those Sleaford lads about it, “Dust Off, Start Again” discusses the transience of housing in Tory Britain in post-pandemic 2024, “Trees” is a window into a world that I hope I never understand, and the brilliance just keeps on coming, and if this had just been a spoken word album, the tinkle of piano and the tenderness of the words on “For The Birds” underlines that it would have been something compelling.

The last one, “Dig!” ties up the loose ends, in a way. Trying its hardest to find the silver lining but looking for an escape, and in the chorus it almost underlines its stoicism. “Dig on down”, he sings. Dig in. Carry on. In the post-industrial hinterland that’s all you have, right?

The fact that it is clear where they are from may help, the accent Hicklin sings in is mine, almost, but it’s about more than that. “Postindustrial Hometown Blues” is one of the best, most original records you’ll hear anywhere this year. It’s a bit (big) special.

Rating 9.5/10

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