Album Review: “Strange Weather” by deardarkhead

The beginning for deardarkhead was in 1988 while the true beginning and origin of the band name came in 1867. Post-punk-shoegaze-dream rockers, deardarkhead, derived their band name from an old Irish poem by Sir Samuel Ferguson about a beautiful woman with jet black locks called “Cean Dubh Dilis”. The trio hails from New Jersey with current band members Kevin Harrington, Robert Weiss and Kevin McCauley who joined after Michael Amper, member of over 10 years, left. This turnover in band members inspired an interesting alteration to deardarkhead’s sound: lack of vocals until the right voice is found. The latest EP, Strange Weather, features six thickly layered, high energy instrumental tracks that make up for the lack of vocals with quality instrumentals and stunning song structure.

Within the lack of vocals, the mind is free to wander, wonder and contemplate the only text associated with the record, the EP title (Strange Weather) and the track titles. It opens subtly with “Falling Upward”, creeping into your consciousness, sounding as if coming from far away, rapidly moving closer. It is here the sonic journey that is Strange Weather, begins and deardarkhead’s journey into the 21st Century. Strange Weather is the first record from deardarkhead since the 90’s and it’s clear the group has found their place here in this new century.

Following “Falling Upward” is the bright and uplifting track, “Sunshine Through the Rain.” The sound captures the spectacle of sunlight bursting through streams of rain, the confusion in our mind as both warm sunlight and cool drops of rain simultaneously contact our skin. Herein lies the beauty of deardarkhead sans, vocals: they are forced to more deeply create and conceptualize their music. And despite their current instrument-only state, the trio is still able to create music with such diversity in tempo, sound and overall mood, coloring their six-track EP in stark and vivid shades.

The B side begins with a bang with “March Hares”, a catchy track with an infectious hook and more than memorable melody. The lead guitar really shines through on this piece and the following track, “Ice Age”, dually acting as the lead vocals. The EP finishes out with the contemplative, “Thinking Back”, which reflects perfectly upon the rest of the album and brilliantly leads back to the opening cut, full circle.

Strange Weather is a triumphant work for deardarkhead and proof to them that they can create music that is equally as compelling, communicative and cutting edge without the work of the human voice. Strange Weather is out now on Saint Marie Records and can be purchased on iTunes and through Saint Marie.

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