Small Black Arrows
Small Black Arrows


Composed of Luke Bailey and Jimmy Hanley, Small Black Arrows is a Manchester-based band known for their eclectic blend of genres and thought-provoking lyrics. After a few months of teasing, they dropped their debut album, ‘The British Museum’. The release is an exploration of love, mental illness, and political manipulation, all seen through the lens of an impending AI revolution.

The album contains eight songs and six ‘exhibits’, the latter featuring actors Ella Peel (Gangs of London, Ordinary Lies), Wim Snape (The Full Monty, Breeders), and Dean Smith (Last Tango In Halifax, Snatch). It takes listeners through modern Britain.

Small Black Arrows uses haunting melodies to talk about politics. Indeed, through their music, the duo criticizes a society where lies and misinformation are used to concentrate power in the hands of a select few, drawing parallels to historical tactics that have fueled wealth and power disparities.

Reflecting on the essence of the album, frontman Lukes says “With all of the statues and history books you would have assumed we would have learned when we were following a dangerously well-trodden path. The worry is now there is even less accountability with this handful of digital Machiavelli.

Small Black Arrows

While the 14 tracks all share a different story, there are a few that particularly stand out. The first one is “Machinations”. With its interesting instrumentation, upbeat tempo, and soothing vocals, this track blends guitars, drums (which sound even a bit like maracas), bass, and more for a unique result.

Then, we have “The Wave” which serves as an acoustic interlude in the middle of the album. The double effect on the vocals creates an ethereal atmosphere. As we get to the first chorus, the additional instrumentation transforms the song into a captivating acoustic pop gem.

Next, “Pathway to Contrition” offers a peaceful break, allowing the singer to shine against a minimalist backdrop. With its stripped-down instrumentation and introspective lyrics, this track invites listeners to reflect and introspect, providing a moment of tranquility amidst the album’s bustling energy.

On another note, the song “Cherophobia” caught my attention because of its name. I’ll admit I had to look up the meaning and that’s a song that is sure to resonate with a lot of us. We shouldn’t be afraid to be happy. With this song, Small Black Arrows tackles it with honesty and vulnerability, encouraging us to confront our own fears and embrace joy.

Finally, the album’s titular track, “The British Museum”, stands out as a thrilling blend of singer-songwriter folk and psychedelic indie rock. What begins as a folk-inspired ballad turns into a psychedelic journey filled with unexpected indie rock twists and turns. It’s a fitting conclusion to an album that defies expectations and pushes the boundaries of genre.

Overall, “The British Museum” is a masterful work of art that showcases Small Black Arrows’ creativity, versatility, and willingness to change today’s society. As the band puts it, “It’s a rollercoaster you’ll want to… nay, need to, ride again and again“.