Tracks

Dark Blue World: "Warm Coat"

(2006)

By Mark Abraham | 15 August 2006

Dark gothic cabaret or just rocking camp, the first track off of Dark Blue World pretty much lays the band’s M.O. out for everyone to see. Fronted by Elizabeth Fischer, who claims “incredibly depressing obscure Hungarian village music” as an influence (yes!), the band languishes in their own awesome sop, piling agony upon agony into a delicious stew of dense, orchestrated pop. There are few vocalists who could deliver lyrics like these (witness the bored mundane descriptions of “string beans on a wire”) with the exact amount of gravitas, but after listening to this album a few times I have this fantasy that Fischer is a person who has lived her life under a constantly trained and smoky spotlight. How else could one gain this sense of drama? It’s unnerving.

The music is appropriately dismal, with guest Jesse Zubot flaying his violin in the opening seconds over a drippy guitar line. Guitarists Ron Samworth and Tony Wilson complement each other nicely, whether concocting dreamy guitar pick patterns or, as they do on the song’s bridge, exploding into distorted cacophony. Drummer Skye Brooks and bassist Pete Schmitt keeps things moving; under the aforementioned explosion, Brooks adopts a mutated march rhythm while Schmitt throws subtle prog obstacles underfoot. The result is a re-articulation of prog, goth, and all of our culture’s Kurt Weill cathexis into something living, breathing, and unendingly sad. Which, and here’s the weird part, has had me smiling for days.