After a failed romantic relationship between vocalist Nona Marie Invie and multi-instrumentalist Marshall LaCount and a short band break-up, Minneapolis indie-folk group Dark Dark Dark released album number two, Who Needs Who, a sorrowful yet delightful album complete with piano, accordion, trumpet, clarinet, strings, cymbals, and more.
While Invie only recites her side of the story, it sounds like she endured more pain in the break-up. She allows herself to become incredibly vulnerable in just about every song. Take “Patsy Cline,” for instance: “I thought we’d meet up in a week or two/And we’d slow dance to Patsy Cline at the bar/But now that you’re gone/My life goes on.” Or in “Tell Me,” Invie chimes, “I want to live in the time when you cherished me/Oh to go back to the place when your hands moved over me/Tell me it’s there.”
She goes back and forth a lot between missing her companion and forcing herself to move on, like in “Meet in the Dark” when she claims it’s over: “You can’t find me now/’Cause I’m humming so low you can’t hear me now.” But she also admits her ever-lingering attachment: “But I’ll never get tired of singing these songs/I’ll never get tired of singing these songs.”
The ensemble creates tense build-ups that never quite explode, remaining calm and pensive. “Hear Me” is a great example of this, as it’s slow, eerie, carrying an echo and the sound of the trumpet as it comes in halfway through the song. Soft and light, it’s almost enough to make you teary-eyed.
Is a brief hiatus and a record dedicated to unleashing the tension after a breakup between two people intimately involved in the same band enough for Dark Dark Dark to be able to continue on as a band? What will need to happen in order for them to produce another record as elegant as Who Needs Who? I hope they stick around long enough for us to find out.