The new EP from the acoustic nomads in Dark Dark Dark manages to lighten up the grim tone of their debut a bit, courtesy of two new members.
On their debut album, The Snow Magic, Dark Dark Dark lived up to their band name, crafting mostly grim, yet entertaining, tales of murder and lost love. The band's acoustic lineup (piano, accordion, string bass, banjo, etc.) and lead singer Nona Marie Invie's smoky vocals combined with a penchant for styles like sea chanties and lyrics that seemed to take place anywhere from the 1880's through the 1920's to give that album an old-timey, Americana feel. Their style hasn't changed much on the new EP, Bright Bright Bright, but as befitting the title, the mood has definitely lightened. These six songs aren't exactly Van Halen's "Jump", but they add some new shades to the band's sound. Some of that comes courtesy of new members Brett Bullion, who adds soft drums and percussion, and multi-instrumentalist Walter McClements, who plays a lot of trumpet here. If there's an issue to be had with the EP, it's that the new, slightly lighter tone makes the lyrics a bit less memorable than on their first album.
Highlights on Bright Bright Bright include the title track, with Invie's melancholic-yet-hopeful singing laid on top of a piano line that seems to circle around and around. "Something for Myself" is an evocative, waltz-like song that starts off sullen but gradually brightens as a chorus of wordless background vocals enters and the piano brings hints of light. The EP closes with "Wild Goose Chase", apparently a cover of a song by Elephant Micah that sounds different from anything else the band has done. The simple arrangement finds Invie alone on vocals and piano, singing a song that alternately disparages and lauds the touring lifestyle. It's a perfect ambiguous sentiment for the notoriously nomadic Dark Dark Dark.