As is often the case with releases on small labels on different continents, some albums take a little while to do the circuit. This explains the gap in time since the release of Wild Go, ‘Minneapolis based chamber-folk sextet’ Dark Dark Dark‘s second full length album in the States, and over here in the UK. During the six months since its Stateside release and today, the band have been compared to a fair few of their peers; a touch of Fiona Apple to be heard in the piano style, a dash of Regina Spektor’s tonality in the lead vocal and a sense of collective creativity and harmony which winks lovingly in the direction of Arcade Fire.
But putting comparisons, peers and long-winded releases aside, what we find on Wild Go is an instantly engaging creation. Dark Dark Dark like to create enticing, textured melodies using accordions, brass and pianos, so it’s easy to see why the band are often credited as having an eastern European influence. In fact, there are many more strings to this group’s bow than just this one genre. The music that they produce is theatrical, almost cinematic, whilst retaining an intimacy that prompts images of landscapes and of a simple life. The resulting songs lead the listener on a hypnotic, nostalgic journey through tales from times gone by.
‘In Your Dreams’ opens the album with an accordion and a piano providing a waltz-style melody to accompany singer Nona Marie Invie’s very strong, very capable vocals, before effortlessly weaving its way into the leading single from the album, ‘Daydreaming’. This song is arguably the stand out track from this collection, proven by its success in wrangling its way into the backgrounds of such programmes as Grey’s Anatomy and apparently, American Idol. ‘Daydreamer’ is an achingly poignant track, drenched in late summer sunshine and sewn together with a seductively off kilter piano-led melody. Invie’s lyrics resonate, enrobed in tristesse, her young voice tinged with longing for another place and era.
Haunting melancholy is something which this band does very well indeed, and the dynamics of the songs on Wild Go are presented in such a way as to allow a story to run through the melodies as well as the lyrics. ‘Something For Myself’ opens with a quietly dramatic piano, which is soon joined by Invie’s striking voice before the whole song softens and then rebuilds for a chorus filled with touching chants and a quietly aching accordions. It’s an album which has been flooded with emotion, and songs such as ‘Robert’ and ‘Nobody Knows’ are memorable, elegantly written pieces. It’s not all sadness and nostalgia though (although most of it is!). ‘Celebrate’ is a steady paced, light affair filled with brass and lyrics about appreciating the fundamental elements of life and nature, such as “Do you love the breeze / When you stand on the deck / Of a boat on the sea”.
Wild Go is a celebration of the smaller things in life. It shuns the fast, hectic pace of the lives that a lot of us live and instead takes notice of the quiet, inconspicuous parts. It’s yearning, it’s holistic and it’ll make a lovely soundtrack to the upcoming summertime.