Darkness Falls, Dance and Cry, HFN
When Darkness Falls released EP Alive In Us in 2011, some pegged the Copenhagen’s pop-noir duo as a one-hit wonder after single Hey! became the most played tune on Danish radio that year.
Follow-up album Dance and Cry should address the haters. Darkness Fall’s core elements remain: electro-tinged instrumental pop entwined with melancholic atmospherics that nod to the Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, but on Dance and Cry, Josephine Philip and Ina Lindgreen look beyond their influences and prove there’s much more to them than heartbreaking pop. This is an album of intelligence, haunting textures and hypnotic synth loops underpinning a hypnagogic state.
Opening track ‘Night Games’ shivers like a herald of open possibility and Philip’s stunning vocals hover tantalisingly out of reach. The hypnotic, droning backdrop has elements of post-rock low in the mix – quiet reverb that adds weight to the abstraction – but Darkness Falls have grander ambitions. Stand out track, ‘The Answer’ is hugely involving, full of dramatic, strung-out sounds that wouldn’t be amiss on Morning Star Flunk or Afterglow-era Dot Allison albums.
Liar’s Kiss is exquisitely discomforting, as Philip sings: “Suddenly, I fall” – hers is a voice that causes goosebumps, signing off ‘fall’ with arresting technique that surpasses any big torch ballad in a single shapeless sigh.
There are softer moments too, single Hazy is the best example of minimalist design but its familiar tones and more built-for-purpose single structure harks back to the sixties in its motifs. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood’s Summer Wine comes to mind – albeit with more beaten down anguish and pain.
With Adrian Aurelius (The Raveonettes) and Lasse Martinussen (Rosemary) at the production helm, the album allows for space as the band surge between yearning lyricism and overpowering touchstones of slow burning experimentation. Despite their undeniable 80s influence, the duo have range – their moods stretching from elegiac and immersive on Golden Bells to swirling textures that coalesce with more urgency on single ‘The Answer.’ The result is an evocative and forceful album that has been crafted with fastidious care and emotion. While treading a similar path to Alive in Us, Dance and Cry is a hymn to broken romance and loss, crafted with loving restraint. Beautifully seductive with enough experimental edge to keep their pop sensibilities on the frostier side of cool.