Dark Dark Dark
Who Needs Who
[Supply & Demand]
Local chamber folk group Dark Dark Dark returns with a purpose on their third full-length Who Needs Who. We hear the band bring their strong acoustic foundation with singer Nona Marie Invie’s voice as unique and evocative as ever. The album is focused, consistent, and at it’s best very evocative of those nostalgic feelings of love we all have. It settles on what used to be, what could have been, and how it is to deal with the silencing progression of time. From the funeral dirge in the opening title track, the listener is settled into a very somber, introspective environment. Ghostly backing vocals intertwine with a trumpet that, while typically a triumphant instrument, is relegated to a sad punctuation mark.
The emotional threads run deep in this album whether it’s Invie’s longing for the “time when you cherished me/oh to go back to the place when your hands moved over me “ or the sweetest moments in a dive bar slow dancing to Patsy Cline. These are threads that everyone can relate to. It punctuates a homespun heartache that is at the core of this album’s power. The chamber folk instrumentation weaves well with Invie’s words, providing a warm, yet at times haunting energy.
The melancholic orchestration, for some elusive yet captivating reason, is further accentuated by the use of a waltzy ¾ time signature throughout much of the album. This is a technique that Dark Dark Dark has used before. With waltzes always being associated in our collective unconscious with a pristine romance, it’s twisted, heartbreaking application in Dark Dark Dark’s music strikes an incongruent romantic contrast that we all experience in love. We build these conceptions of romance only to have them tragically torn. It evokes a derelict ballroom and a tattered, forgotten prom dress.
It’s interesting that the album ends with a song called The Great Mistake, as it’s the last signature the band puts on its work, but it keeps with the themes of introspection, regret, fading memories, and the inevitable, cold passing of time. The album has a few upbeat moments, and one of them is at the very end. It’s as if among all the weighted emotions of life, in the end, there exists some kind of accepting, c'est-la-vie flourishes in us all.
Written by Ross Crandall, Radio K volunteer.