|a raven has my heart is the rebirth of black lab. it’s a deepening, a growing up, a reconciliation of alternative rock and cinematic electronica. raven takes the same dark tones of previous albums and drives them deeper into a rich landscape of loss and obsession.
when they started working on the album two years ago, paul and andy realized they had come to the end of what they wanted to do with the traditional black lab sound. stripping away 90′s rock conventions, they started over from scratch, writing much of the record together on piano, bringing an alternate tonal sensibility to the songs and wrapping paul’s melodies in a lush fabric of synths. complimented by andy’s drum programming, the songs quickly took on a sinuous quality that complemented the wailing coming out of paul.
after many months of trial and error, the sound was developed and the basic structures and melodies established. paul set to work filling one spiral notebook after another with attempts at something new, something vital and mature, something exposed and visceral, something fundamental and true.
for six months he failed. he would write and write and then go back and look at what he had written and find nothing. toward the end of 2013, the dam finally broke and the record gushed out of him. tuning his new voice around his new modified neumann u87 microphone, he found what he wanted to say and the voice with which he wanted to say it. over hundreds of takes, paul stripped down the way he sang to follow the immediate sound and meaning of the words, bringing a more direct articulation and honest vocal tone to the songs.
the result is both radically new and deeply rooted in black lab’s history and approach to music, a distillation of everything the band has worked toward: dark, seductive, honest, carnal, narcotic, shattering, transcendent, lovely.
cover image by sara haase
things people say:
It’s like Black Lab 2.0. — completely reinvented and improved. Passion Leaves a Trace was amazing but it was still a natural progression from the songs you had written and worked on previously. In Two Strangers you wrote a great album, but still followed the same recipe. With this new album everything feels new and fresh. It has a completely new “color” and an unbelievable sense of renewal. The entire album tells a story with the consistent musical texture. It’s definitely your most profound work to date, and to be honest, the ONLY pop or rock album I’ll probably be listening to in the next few months. The songs are just ridiculously good. Everything rocks. Thanks for doing this!!
I have purchased every album by Black Lab, and A Raven Has my Heart is the one with the most depth.
Similar to Passion Leaves a Trace’s “This Night”. Dark, pure, simple, but truly Black lab. It really lets Paul’s voice shine. Every song is new yet classic Black Lab.
This is Black Lab’s best album to date. From the mesmerizing opening track “Unfamiliar Sky” to the unforgettable finale “Turn Away”, this is a journey in song that is worth taking over and over. Paul and Andy never cease to amaze me with their ability to craft such deep and meaningful lyrics and memorable melodies. I love the whole album and quite honestly I can’t point out any favorites because each song is just so good. I have all of Black Lab’s albums in constant rotation and this album will stay in rotation for several months to come. Often when I listen to an album, I will eventually grow tired of it after repeated listens, but that never happens with any of the Black Lab albums. That is a testament to the lasting power of Black Lab’s music. Buy this and all their albums and just enjoy. You can thank me later.
I instantly felt as if I were listening to YBAM again for the first time, was completely blown away. Yeah, some serious depth on Raven, no doubt! You guys are definitely giving YBAM a run for the money as the pinnacle of your success. I will definitely be listening to this one for a while.
I have been listening to the new album pretty much non-stop, it is awesome. I have been a fan since 98, thanks for all the music over the years.
As far as the new album, I absolutely love it. It is hard to find music that truly transports you to a different place, but your latest album does that very effectively. Listening to it invokes images of walking on cloudy days, of getting lost under the stars, of going on epic adventures to find your true love. It feels cinematic, a perfect blend of hope and delicious melancholy. It inspires me to write, something I don’t do nearly enough. I am in love with it.
The accolades from your fans are well deserved. It is an honor and a privilege to have had a small part in helping this album see the light of day. And man, what an incredible album it is. I am ecstatic that the physical box sets are shipping tomorrow. Thank you for making the best music out there.
Holy . . . something. This is amazing music. I might have to call all my friends and tell them to get this album. . .
Truly magnificent, this album. I can’t stop listening to it. Gravity keeps blowing me away, and Surrender (my favorite so far) keeps breaking my heart. Love the ‘Synchronicity II’ vibe on Radio Tonight. Underwater is really a masterpiece. I’m still absorbing the album slowly, song by song, but … wow. It’s just so gorgeous. So gorgeous I can only type in sentence fragments!
If the album only contained Burn Out and Gravity, I would have been satisfied. All the other songs are just icing on the cake. Love the darkness that echoes through the entire album. An absolutely amazing job. Thank you!!
Holy fuck. Dark. Luscious. Sensual. Heartbreaking. Ruminating. Obsessive. Haunting. Lamenting. With an subtle almost…subconscious..undertone of freedom and peacefulness in acceptance. Brilliant work. I should have been in bed an hour ago but I can’t help but listen through it again.
Part of Me is blowing me away today. Really great work. Every day I end up changing my mind on my favorite. There isn’t a bad song on the whole album.
A stunning piece of work. Different, maybe. Black Lab, definitely. Dark, emotional, honest, evocative.
I can’t stop listening to it.
Can’t pick a favourite song yet – so many good ones. Thank you for the amazing music!
unfamiliar sky. I got caught in the cold but it can’t rain forever. you could soften the blow. ah but you never say never. I see this gray unfamiliar sky. and now I feel the weight this unfamiliar sky but I go on sailing past. race you upstairs. you used to let me win now nobody cares which one of us might have sinned. I see this gray unfamiliar sky. and now I feel the weight this unfamiliar sky but I go on sailing past. feels like rain. sailing past. feels like rain.
gravity. do you know yet how bad it can get? can you wake my head? ‘cause there’ll be sirens in the silence. come on and wake my head. I’ve been driven here to seek asylum drawn to you. through the open door to the ocean floor I can feel it pull me down to you. I’ll be good for days in a million ways. I can feel it pull me down to you. give in to the fall. give in to the fall. don’t try and keep your head above it all. can you see me? can you feel me? can you wake my head? there’ll be voices inside contain these voices inside. through the open door to the ocean floor I can feel it pull me down to you. I’ll be good for days in a million ways. I can feel it pull me down to you. and the pain goes on and on and on. the pain just goes on and on and on. betraying what was promised by saying what is honest. chained to your love. come come come take. take my love. by saying what is honest. take my love.
further. you get further a little bit further then fall. then you fall. you get further a few steps further then fall. then you fall. there ain’t nothing no there ain’t nothin that can stop you and keep you from getting back up. there ain’t nothing no there ain’t nothing. it goes up it goes down and that’s just what it does. further just a bit further we fall. then we fall. we get further a little bit further then fall. then we fall. there ain’t nothing no there ain’t nothing. there’s no force in this world that we can’t overcome. there’s nothing no there ain’t nothing. there’s no way we can fail if we never give up. and I feel the fear. it feels like a gun in my hand this time. this new frontier. like soldiers we’re making a stand this time. say the word. I throw my body upon the grenade as the fast bullets fly. there will be sun at the end of the night. further you get a bit further then fall then you fall. further a little bit further then fall then you fall. there ain’t nothing no there ain’t nothing there’s no force in this world that can kill your love. there’s nothing no there ain’t nothing. there’s no way we can fail if we never give up. never give up.
part of me. I want you so badly my bones start to ache. I’m in equal parts wonder and pain. there’s a part of me. there’s a part of me that just wants what it wants and that’s all it can do. could I let go of having your love? could the longing itself be enough? there’s a part of me. the very heart of me that can barely remember my life without you. and this fear this pain this love this weight this joy your slave lays his head down. I dream and it’s all for you. bear the tension of tears held at bay. it’s the main thing I do with my days. there’s a part of me. there’s a part of me painting over the world with these pictures of you. I can’t even pretend to be strong. I get up and I shake like a dog. you’re the part of me. the very heart of me. in the language of love there is no word for no. so bring this fear this pain this love this weight this fight your slave lays his head down. I dream and it’s all for you.
playing. and you’re dying to know her. the skin on her shoulders. and your tears start for no reason. her smile like a beacon. and I find this is what I tell myself this is what i tell myself. you’re playing playing playing around with what’s left of your heart. you’re playing and I come apart under pressure. there’s no way I could ever forget her. blame it on her voice but you know what you’re doing. you can blame it on her voice. you watch as she’s talking. skittish as a deer. how softly she listens to what no one else can hear. this is what I tell myself. you’re playing playing playing around with what’s left of your heart. you’re playing and I come apart under pressure there’s no way I could ever forget her. sitting on your hands. lost among the damned. there’ll be places you cannot forget. like an infant you’re crawling to your knees. watch you push and shove in and out of love. the wind shifts and you sail out of your life.
underwater. the ice is struck. this ship goes down. how can I not touch you dear and why don’t I drown. I would slacken my grip. sleep a watery sleep. and dream of your silk skin in the ocean deep. as it holds you underwater have you suffered enough? as it holds you underwater will you give it up? have you suffered enough? have you suffered enough? blind on the inside. drunk on the ropes. salt water bearing down yeah brackish in my throat. I told you the truth about me. this mutinous heart. the battle’s won I know but the war is lost. as it holds you underwater will you give it up? have you suffered enough? have you suffered enough and will you give it up? I’ll be the one to lay your head down on this golden shrine. I’ll be the one to breathe your breath when all this lies behind. as it holds you underwater have you suffered enough?
surrender. on the day you die the angels hold a wake and drink until it snows. so let yourself cry let your body shake cause everybody knows. after the fall you let it go. all by yourself. surrender. after the fall you let it go ‘cause nobody else can surrender. will you surrender? my eyes are on god. I find that she is you. am I your crown of thorns? cause I’ll be your dog scratching at your shoes. you watch as I perform. after the fall you let it go. all by yourself. surrender. after the fall you let it go ‘cause nobody else can surrender. will you surrender? and this kite won’t go. this kite won’t go the wind tears it apart again. will you surrender? and this tide won’t go. this tide don’t go till you know that it’s over. will you surrender?
out of promises. that long red hair. those long black robes. a window opens. the curtains close. this stubborn heart broken on the wheel. you struggle forward through the darkness. you don’t know what you feel. say the word. take the knife and cut us all apart if it’ll give you back your life. cause you’re out of promises that you can’t keep. you’re out of promises. you let the water run too deep now you’re out of promises. so dream the dream of a child. someone to love you until you die. someone close who’d never judge. someone to listen to your heartbreak no matter what it was. pray for rain. fight for air. you said it’d always come but you know it’s not quite there. now you’re out of promises that you can’t keep. you’re out of promises. you keep talking in your sleep but you’re out of promises. and when the lion kills the lamb can you take it like a man? when all we want is mercy. a little bit of mercy. and could you be a better man? well you do the best you can. all we want is mercy. a little bit of mercy. ’cause we’re out of promises that we can’t keep. we’re out of promises. we let the water run too deep now we’re out of promises. say the word. we’re out of promises. we let the warning go unheard now we’re out of promises.
burn out. follow the light at the end of an endless moment. what will you find every time that you turn me over? there is a shadow it pitches me forward. there is an echo in my head. stand by the window give me a sign that I’m not dead. you call you wait will you burn out? you fall you fade will you burn out on me? what have I done? what have I set in motion? when will you come? I took advantage of your devotion. stand at the keyhole listen for secrets that you don’t want to hear. as god is my witness someday there’ll be nothing left to fear. you call you wait will you burn out? you fall you fade will you burn out on me?
radio tonight. and the air is full of sound and stories that I lost. broadcasts that I found on the stations of my cross. now the music falls like rain. it pools around my knees. but the paper’s soaking wet and the pen does not receive. so I’m pleading for a light cause the words won’t come out right on the radio tonight. the radio tonight. radio tonight. with all these broken toys I can’t come out and play. the songs are all alike since the frequency got changed. but my heart has burst a seam. I overflow with dreams and my memory doesn’t dim. this silence is a sin. so let the blood antennae rise. keep the dust out of my eyes when the words don’t come out right on the radio tonight. radio tonight. I try to look away from the things I don’t know how to say. I’m staring into space. I can’t see what listens when I pray. I’m spitting in the wind. I wrack my head again. but the signal’s just a roar. it’s all been said before. so I swim against the tide. I rage against the light. but the words won’t come out right on the radio tonight. radio tonight.
left for dead. you haunt me every day. the world becomes your face. I know I’m left in your arms. do you remember how I swore I’d burn it down if I could tell you my heart? I can’t be your sin. I’m not alone. I can’t be your saint. where do I belong? take whatever’s behind me. I’ll be left for dead. take whatever’s behind. I’ve taken every hope. yeah everything I own. I put it all in the game. so would you really call? show your hand and take it all? could you walk away? cause I don’t believe it. I’ll carry on but I don’t accept. where do I belong? take whatever’s behind me. I’ll be left for dead. take whatever’s behind. it’s hollow. I traded everything for love. it’s hollow this waiting. I wait for you to say you’ve changed your mind. take whatever’s behind me. I’ll be left for dead. take whatever’s behind.
turn away. I can hear you upstairs getting dressed now. banging your stuff around. I wonder why I’m so scared. are you gonna leave me leave me now? turn away. I can’t turn away. all I see is rapture in your eyes. turn away. I can’t turn away. all I need is one more sunrise. and my grace pray for me. pray for all of us. now that I can see I’ll be yours for good. yours for always. open always inside. turn away. I can’t turn away. all I see is rapture in your eyes. turn away. I can’t turn away. all I need is one more sunrise. stories get old say something new. something that’s borrowed something taboo. dying without it. life on the tablet. facing that I can’t turn away. I can’t turn away. can’t turn away. can’t turn away