Instantly absorbing and lush as a Thom Yorke daydream, the debut EP from Brooklyn’s The Darklights is thick stuff – thickly melodic, thickly rhythmic, thickly lovely – yet rendered with such organic dexterity that it seems the duo of Joe Hundertmark (vocals, guitars, bass, piano, synthesizer, programming) and Sean Hutchinson (drums, percussion, synthesizer, programming, folding chair) have snatched this music from the ether, cupped in their hands ready for us to take a drink. There are undeniable echoes of Radiohead and fellow Brooklynites Grizzly Bear but it’s just that The Darklights undulate on a similar wavelength, though frankly, they’re more forthright and accessible. Digging deep into dorky record store clerk name-checking, I’d say they have more in common with cult faves David Sylvian circa Gone To Earth and The Blue Nile’s fabulous debut A Walk Across The Rooftops – music of irrefutably modern character with a pronounced penchant for beauty.
This self-titled EP slips in through “the cracks between your dreams, the slide between the seams,” a strangely warming fog cut by Hundertmark’s clean, high flying vocals and Hutchinson’s heartbeat pulse. “Night Is Falling” further ups the romantic quotient and thankfully without any New Wave, post-modern whiff – this one yearns with sincerity and pleasant solemnity – and “Until Then” would have been the ideal soundtrack for seducing Sean Young in Blade Runner. The standout here is “Nobody Knows,” the boldly etched closer that begins with strummed acoustic guitar, fleeting piano and a compulsive beat and grows more layered and entrancing by the minute, ending on a hushed refrain of “nobody knows” as haunting as Yorke’s infamous “Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.” With just five tracks, this is a handshake but a warming, sure one that harbingers great music to come.
The EP Release Party takes place in Manhattan at Rockwood Music Hall on Monday, July 25th featuring an expanded lineup with Austin Donohue (guitar, vox), Mitchell Yoshida (keys, synth) and Chris Morrissey (bass) joining Hundertmark and Hutchinson.