The Black Atlantic, Darkling, I Listen
2012, Beep! Beep! Back up the Truck
Winter rules with dark days and distance. Some spend the reign suffering through holidays, eating carbohydrates, and daydreaming of the summer and sun. Others see a meditative elegance, even a tender type of romantic anticipation, in the season’s space and silence. For these souls, The Black Atlantic’s latest EP — officially released on January 13, but available for preorder at www.theblackatlantic.com — should prove a worthy purchase. Over five short songs, this band from the Netherlands creates sparse and smoldering folk-like music representing the true (and often forgotten) spirit of January: glancing backwards while moving forwards, haunted but hopeful. “The Aftermath (Of This Unfortunate Event)” and “The Flooded Road (Built on Sand)” set the tone in excellent fashion, the later almost passing for a slow Band of Horses number. However, the crowning achievement is the title track: a breaking wave of drums and guitar above which Geert van der Velde sings about memories, promises, intentions, and dreams. Only “An Archer, A Dancer” may fail to inspire, its flutes and lyrics (“You and I are made for this Earth, not for these times”) possibly too twee and sugary for most. Thankfully, closer “Quiet, Humble Man” resumes the moving, yearning mood. And yearning could be the key word in this review, because Darkling, I Listen shines best as music for lovers. Remember: flames still flicker in winter. So pour some wine, grasp your lover’s hand, and have at it, folks. Let the night fall; let the snow fall; let the delicate sounds of this album surround and cover you up.