“Dark Night Of The Soul” – ‘Dangermouse And Sparklehorse’ [Joint Review]
I’ve woken up jolly early to give you guys the pleasure of a Sunday morning wake-up with your pal, The Enantiomorphic God. This week has not only been a busy mess of various studying, reviewing, listening and working, but has also had it’s revelation. Following my review of ‘TBD – The Bavarian Druglords’, I awoke yesterday evening feeling that “… my spidy sense [was] tingling…”
And, to my surprise, my utmost joy, a pingback from the kings themselves – ‘The Bavarian Druglords’. Yes, apparently I had breached their copyright – “Of course bloody not! They loved the review!” Here’s an extract from what they said exactly – and no, this is not a time to be modest, it’s a time to be arrogant. I think I’ve earned it, so here it is:
“Well aside from the fact, that this Highly Evolved blog uses the EXACT same blog template I do, I knew it would be good! Dead chuffed by this review, very well written, and very kind words to the album. Cheers to the people behind that blog—-much appreciated in every way. You really do GET IT.”
And now that those bragging-rights have been utilised appropriately, I’d like to introduce to you guys this week, being our Joint Review, a rather eclectic album – coined by my partner, Michael Hodder – a sort-of “compilation” mix of artists, with various takes on various songs. Just some of the name artists involved, “Iggy Pop, Vic Chesnutt, Black Francis, Julian Casablancas…” and much, much more. Brought to you by:
There is no way to actually place this album in context with a genre, it jumps according to the lead. And, quite appropriately, each and every song is like a self-contained little universe inside a bigger multiverse called “Dark Night Of The Soul”. One has neither an influence, nor a similarity, over another. This is a whole-‘nother kettle of fish, anchovies, salmon, cod; whatever. But there are the ‘typicals’, as I’ll call them, that you can expect: lead, guitar, percussion, bass. Throughout, these are the usual fixed points within their changing universe. The vocals might change, so too the lyrics, but those are basically the consistencies that “Dark Night Of The Soul” sticks to. It’s got its boundaries, and although it might tip-toe occasionally across the line, it finds it way back in the end.
Now that, that discussion is over, it’s onto the album and my first impressions: a solid playthrough is necessary, once or twice, before any criticism can begin. And not that I’m trying to be critical, but these sorts of album-artist-compilations aren’t really my thing. Where an ordinary album has it’s vocals from one guy – sometimes two – “DNOTS” has a different artists for nearly every song. Aside ‘James Mercer’,’Vic Chesnutt’ and ‘Nina Persson’, who all appear twice. In the end, it’s like hearing the first – and in the case of the afore-three mentioned, first and second – song to an album.
Because all those artists are all so different, the links between them on this album are easily lost in amongst themselves. Banging the album on it’s fifth-track from there and back to it again, you would easily think without noticing that it’s actually the first, and not the fifth; if that makes any sense whatsoever. The start should have a definitive beginning, and the end, an epic finish, defining them both so you can’t possibly begin elsewhere.
And that would be its only weakness, “Dark Night Of The Soul” has some stunning artists however, some fantastical lyrics and some upbeat/lowbeat songs that are catchy and memorable. The album opens with “Revenge” – Featuring ‘Wayne Coyne’ and “… Pain, I guess it’s a matter of sensation…” Some very ‘Pink Floyd’-esque music is going on here, the airy-voice, the echo, the percussion, the bass, and the synth-violin. And it would have to be my favourite for the album, although I thoroughly enjoy all the songs “DNOTS” has to offer.
Second universe, and we’ve got “Just War” – Featuring ‘Gruff Rhys’ with heavy emphasis on the words “… Just war, a contribution…” come its end. Nothing overly special here, other than a shift from rock, to alternative. I won’t dawdle too much here, it’s okay, but there are more interesting ones…
Onwards, onwards, onwards, and we come across “Little Girl” – Featuring ‘Julian Casablancas’, with an upbeat percussion, a tickle of guitar, and sort-of fast lyrics. It all works here, another favourite of mine:
“Pain” – Featuring ‘Iggy Pop’, would probably be the heaviest “DNOTS” has to offer, and with the lyrics: “Ow… Oww… A massive headache in my aging skull, means I do not feel well… Pain, Pain, Pain…” from a deep baritone ‘Iggy Pop’, reminds me of the after-effects of an eighteenth-birthday party…
A sllllloooooowwwww down after this, with “Everytime I’m With You” – Featuring ‘Jason Lytle’, the eighth track, and a voice comparative ‘Wayne Coyne”, almost. Waltz-like music in the background, shoegazing meets rock. You’ll be tripping.
I’ll leave it there, and finish by saying that “Dark Night Of The Soul” is like a trip in The Doctor’s TARDIS, from universe to universe, you’ll be sampling the delights of paralell dimensions full of squibbly-squobbly things that play music just for you. It if lightens that soul of yours, all the better, but dark is best, and dark is what it’s all about. A very generous four-stars from me, but a defenite “listen-before-you-buy” scenario. You’re probably better buying the individual-artists rather than “Dark Night Of The Soul”, 5-$10 is modest, but I’d look around before setting your heart on it.
The Enantiomorphic God