For the past several years, Boston steamcrunk crew Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys have soundtracked all the things that go bump in the night — and all that shift around uneven spaces come morning. This week, the carnival-pop collective of musical misfits and merry revelers once again extend their sonic tentacles towards our furry earholes with the release of third studio album Come Black Magic, a properly crowd-funded LP that breathes its first taste of nighttime air this Friday at the Sinclair in Cambridge.
The new album, also out Friday, is a culmination of all the things frontman and ringleader Sickert has stored away in the far reaches of his mind since he was a small child. Through his own personal filter, many of the ideas, people, and other creatures that have emerged on Come Black Magic are slightly tweaked versions of the ideas, people, and other creatures that first took up residence. And radio is the organic conduit.
“When I was a kid living on a boat, I’d sleep with my pirate radio next to my bunk,” Sickert tells Vanyaland. “I used to have night terrors and I’d wake up and grab my radio and try to tune in any station that would come in out in the middle of the ocean. Some nights I would hear music so beautiful, so moving that it filled me with an uncontrollable euphoria and longing. I would fall back to sleep knowing I wanted to make music for the rest of my life. Come Black Magic is my answer to the night terrors I had as a kid.”
From the indie rock grandeur and punk-cabaret fury of “The Legend Of Squid And Moon” to a bug-eyed, crashing rendition of Bjork’s “Army of Me”, Come Black Magic is a winding highway of a record that amplifies one’s own chaotic dreamland and all the dark corners of your mind that only speak up once the lights are out, and the music-as-remedy concoction whipped up to stave off the evils that ride freely through the mind’s dark underbelly.
“[Come Black Magic] is filled with old VHS cassette creatures, the dead rats in my grandmother’s basement, the shoes by the woodpile filled with a man who shouldn’t be there, the confiscated tape players in the nun’s desk drawer, it’s the answer to those kids on the playground who laugh at your too curly hair and too long legs,” Sickert adds. “Listen, in the dark, with your headphones, on when you want to conjure monsters and mayhem.”
In advance of Friday’s release, listen, also, to an exclusive stream of Come Black Magic, and check full release party details below.