CD Review: Dark Dark Dark – Who Needs Who

For their third release, Dark Dark Dark trots out the same swagger and pillow-soft piano melodies established in previous work.


Review by David Feltman


No one weaves folk, jazz and melancholic Americana like Minneapolis’ Dark Dark Dark. The band uses a menagerie of horns, strings and percussion to create a sound uniquely their own. For their third release, the band trots out the same swagger and pillow-soft piano melodies established in their previous work. But sadly, little new is done with it.


Vocalist Nona Marie Invie’s lyrics, literary and devastatingly personal, have always been one of the band’s greatest assets. Who Needs Who, however, lacks the pop and lyrical wallop of their earlier LPs. The album is singularly obsessed with post-relationship doldrums, which is admittedly fertile ground for Invie’s vein-opening disclosures. But there are no tracks on Who Needs Who that approach the visceral vulnerability of, say, “Heavy Heart” or “Celebrate.” Instead, many of the tracks blend lazily together with little to discern one from another. There is never a different kind of song or perspective on the album.


There’s nothing wrong with Who Needs Who on a technical level. Dark Dark Dark demonstrates the maturity of veteran musicians and any one of these songs is amiable in its own right. Songs such as “It’s a Secret” and “Tell Me” strike satisfying highs. Yet others, like “Hear Me” are allowed to meander. Such tracks, when placed side-by-side with so many other similar minded songs, results in a numbing repetitiveness. There’s a tightness absent from the compositions that allows too many good ideas to sputter for want of some stringent editing.

Who Needs Who is a perfectly enjoyable album, but Dark Dark Dark has demonstrated a level of talent that exceeds what is offered here. Go ahead and check out Who Needs Who HERE. Released Tuesday Oct. 2 on Supply and Demand Music.

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