It opens slowly, the sound of freezing wind seeping through your window, 45 seconds to contemplate existence—will spring ever arrive and when it does will we still be here to see it.
deardarkhead started all the way back in 1988, progenitors & pioneers, inventors & inheritors. Captured Tracks put out a retrospective of their early work in 2012, and the band’s still going strong today, making dreamy melodic music that fills the spaces in your head, what The Big Takeover last year called ‘a beautiful bloom of kaleidoscopic sound.’
2016 sees the release of Strange Weather, the band’s most intriguing offering yet. When their longtime singer left in 2009 they decided to continue as an instrumental act, but deardarkhead isn’t a postpunk Ventures, or a shoegaze Lightning Bolt. Instead, these New Jersey shoegazers practice a kind of sonic ju-jitsu, turning their perceived weakness into a strength. With only the titles to guide us, an incomplete road map, there’s more room here for the listener to get lost in what’s happening, to create their own meaning. deardarkhead make cinematic music, and in this movie the listener is the star.
A famous philosopher once wrote ‘There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking.’ Lyrics are fascist. They tell you what to think and how to feel. These songs bypass the distancing effect of words, the inarticulacy of language, and go straight to the listener without any intermediary. And without a vocalist to articulate their feelings, DDH had to go deeper into their music. On ‘Ice Age’ you can hear the bass doing twice the work of your typical shoegaze band, combining rhythm & melody all at the same time like some unholy blend of Kim Deal and Peter Hook. ‘March Hares’ is a rousing call to arms, a fight song for the uninspired. The drums are propulsive and the guitars burn. They’ve never sounded this alive before.
Strange Weather sounds beautiful & timeless, storming & psychedelic. Saint Marie Records continues to shape and define the shoegaze survival, building a canon of work that might one day soon eclipse the original.
Words ruin everything. Every argument, every war, every broken relationship—all rooted in the failure of words. Even this bio, these paragraphs, this poorly thought-out sentence, fall so far short of conveying the majesty & brilliance of deardarkhead, the slamming prettiness of their sound. These guys are onto something. Necessity, and mothers, and inventions, all that shit.