Big Special have released ‘Black Dog / White Horse‘, the latest single to be taken from their forthcoming debut album Postindustrial Hometown Blues, out 10th May via SO Recordings. It’s their first official single since they revealed ‘Dust Off / Star Again’, which remains on the BBC 6 Music playlist.

‘Black Dog / White Horse’ showcases Big Special at their most brooding and contemplative, walking a tightrope of deliberation as lead singer Joe Hicklin brings his stirring vocals to a song that charts the path from fear to salvation. Of the new song he says: ‘Black Dog / White Horse’ is about fear, about rumination, intrusive thoughts and cycles of depression. It’s about trying to figure out how to reach out when feelings of guilt and shame take hold. It’s about recognising these things in others, noticing the lost and undervalued, and their increasing numbers.

It comes from a thing I wrote years ago, about a burning snake traveling in the hot sun and a small wren flying high above it to block the heat and give it shade, taking the burden of the sun, because the little bird loves the snake and won’t see it defeated, for whatever reason.”


Continuing about the album he says: Postindustrial Hometown Blues is an album about depression. It’s about the different shapes it takes; personal, social, generational… and it’s about coming face to face with those ghosts and what we do or how we feel when that happens.

The album offers no answers, it is just an honest expression of a working-class experience in modern England through the eyes of ill mental health, a pursuit of art and political disenchantment; a story of rumination, realisation and reaction.

Postindustrial Hometown Blues
is about learning that we are connected by our common struggles and though dark and rageful, the album holds a quiet sentiment of love and hope. It’s about laughing at the face of the void, recognising its oppressive weight, holding hands and moving forward.”

Catch Big Special on tour – including Latitude
  • 03 Apr – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK (DIY Now & Next tour)
  • 04 Apr – Bullingdon, Oxford, UK (DIY Now & Next tour)
  • 05 Apr – Yellow Arch Studio, Sheffield, UK (DIY Now & Next tour)
  • 06 Apr – Green Door Store, Brighton, UK (DIY Now & Next tour)
  • 07 Apr – Joiners, Southampton, UK (DIY Now & Next tour)
  • 12 Apr – New Century Hall, Manchester, UK (supp. Antony Szmierek)
  • 13 Apr – Lafayette, London, UK (supp. Antony Szmierek)
  • 07 May – District, Liverpool, UK
  • 08 May – The Key Club, Leeds, UK
  • 09 May – XOYO, Birmingham, UK
  • 10 May – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK
  • 12 May – Strange Brew, Bristol, UK
  • 16 May – Jazz Café, London, UK – SOLD OUT
  • 17 May – Horatio’s, Brighton, UK (The Great Escape 2024)
  • 18 May – Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
  • 20 May – Kasbah Club, Limerick, Ireland
  • 21 May – Workman’s Cellar, Dublin, Ireland
  • 22 May – Ulster Sports Bar, Belfast, Norther Ireland
  • 24 May – Netherlands, Den Haag, Zwarte Ruiter (Sniester Festival)
  • 26 May – Bearded Theory Festival, Derbyshire, UK
  • 27 May – Paradiso Upstairs, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 28 May – Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • 30 May – Block Party Festival, Paris, France
  • 31 May – Vestrock, Hulst, Netherlands
  • 01 Jun – Dauwpop Festival, Hellendoorn, Netherlands
  • 26 Jul – Low Festival, Benidorm, Spain
  • 28 Jul – Latitude Festival, Suffolk, UK
  • 15-18 Aug – Green Man Festival, Bannau Brycheiniog, UK
  • 23 Aug – Reading Festival, Reading, UK
  • 24 Aug – Leeds Festival, Leeds, UK
  • 29 Aug – 01 Sep – End Of The Road Festival, Dorset, UK
  • 30 Nov – O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London, UK
Grapevine’s 2024 Festival Guide