It’s been over 18 months since Above & Beyond released their second studio album Group Therapy. Met with high critical acclaim, it has provided the back-bone to the trio’s activities since, with the “Group Therapy” name lending itself to tours, a re-branding of their weekly radio show, and the ubiquitous hashtag #ABGT. So it is with some sadness that the seventh and final single from the album is now upon us.
Black Room Boy follows a formula that goes back to the Tri-State days. Whereas many EDM albums are simply extended versions of previously released tracks, Above & Beyond have gained a solid reputation for good songwriting – the EDM production style is almost secondary. Central to this is Tony McGuinness, often cited as the “lyrics man” of the group, who has taken up position as lead vocalist for the first time, with long term collaborator Richard Bedford taking up backing vocals. The track deals with a lonely and insular character, with references to living life through the internet and even parental rejection. It’s a dark and serious side to Above & Beyond with Tony’s performance giving it a biting and personal feel – more Radiohead than Tiesto. It’s a very odd and slightly unsettling juxtaposition given that the track is a current favourite for the thousands who see them DJ live on a weekly basis. But on a musical level, it’s a groovy progressive trance track, backed up by a club mix which combines uplifting breaks with dirty electro-style drops.
Black Room Boy is out now and despite this being the final single from the album, the Group Therapy name looks set to continue well into the future as Above & Beyond continue to rack up the miles across the globe. Their DJ sets and productions rightly earn them a place at the top of the EDM ladder, but with tracks like this under their belt, you can’t help but think that more mainstream artists will soon have something to reckon with.