Dark Pop Noir
While they have not piqued much interest in the United States, self-described “noir pop” duo, Darkness Falls, have a huge following in their native Denmark. “Hey,” a single from the band’s debut record, Alive in Us, helped the band claim the title of their country’s most played artist. They now follow up their critically-acclaimed debut with a fresh batch of songs, entitled Dance and Cry.
The duo of Darkness Falls consists of vocalist and keyboardist Josephine Philip and guitarist Ina Lindgreen. Though their moniker may suggest some sort of speed metal band, Darkness Falls focuses on playing extremely melodic pop music covered with a heavy vale of somber melancholy. While their debut album had its share of darkness, its most popular single, “Hey!” was a much more lighthearted affair than anything heard on their second release. Gone are the squiggly, haunted-house synthesizer lines that gave the Darkness Falls’ pop songs a superficially-dark sound, and in their place are some genuinely moody atmospherics such as the extended outro of “Night Games” and the haunting verses of “The Answer.”
The vast gulf in mood on the singles of Dance and Cry and Alive in Us is most telling of the overall moroseness that is emphasized on Darkness Falls’ second album. “Hazy” opens with a rich synthesizer drone while plucked arpeggios and far-away percussion fill out the track; the vocals and melodies recall similarly dark pop groups such as 2:54. The title track is one of the most melodic songs on Dance and Cry, with vocals that recall the sing/speak cadence made famous by Lana Del Rey and a frenetic bongo beat that is accented with Spaghetti-Western guitar rakes.
Darkness Falls have crafted a solid follow-up to what was a breakthrough debut in their home country of Denmark. While it is unlikely any tracks from Dance and Cry will find their way onto mainstream American radio stations, the band should develop a solid core of fans with their more mature sophomore effort.