They’re not always nice or easy, but there’s no question we’ve been treated to some fantastic break-up albums over the past couple of years. Noah & The Whale’s The First Days of Spring, Josh T. Pearson’s The Last of the Country Gentlemen, Emmy The Great’s Virtue…there have been plenty to pick from.
Dark Dark Dark, as is their way, are doing it a little differently on the upcoming Who Needs Who, because how often do both parties tell their story together? Back in early 2011, lead singer and songwriter Nona Maria Invie and band co-founder Marshall LaCount ended their relationship with a year’s worth of touring commitments still ahead of them.
Arguments raged on the road, but the band lives on and Invie went away to channel her emotions into a new set of songs they are debuting on tour ahead of the album’s October release. And on these new tracks, largely written by Invie, there’s no question she wants to talk about her emotions. “I want to live in a time when you cherished me” she sings on the new album’s lead single Tell Me. On ‘Patsy Cline’ Invie admits she never saw the end coming, but then sings, “Now that you’re gone, my life goes on”.
It doesn’t seem, going by these lyrics, like Invie wanted it to end, and never more so than on the stark ‘Without You’ on which Walter McClements’ raw accordion rides a bare bass line. “Without you, I am a river, my love,” Invie sings over the top. “And without you I lose what is good to the sea, and without you I am a river, my love, wandering aimlessly.”
Through all of this, LeCount busies himself at the corner of the stage, extracting a little feedback from his amp to add to the sound but appearing to make himself as scarce as he can for the few minutes the song lasts. Watching could be quite awkward, but whatever tensions there have been between the pair – and within the band – over the past year seem to be behind them.
Instead they’ve produced yet another beautiful record, less playful – and fairly so – than Wild Go, so that when ‘Daydreaming’ is dropped into the set midway through its almost like light relief. A break-up of the band’s two co-founders could have proved fatal for Dark Dark Dark, but instead they’ve turned it on its head and returned stronger, their commitment to the band never more clear.
“You want everything to stay the same, and then things change,” Invie sings on ‘Meet In The Dark’. “But I’ll never get tired of singing these songs.”