The Dark Clan
Category: Electro / Rock
Album: Hall of Fame
Blurb: While the talent behind The Dark Clan has never been in question, this latest album stands as the band’s most concentrated and consistent work yet, still retaining the irreverent sense of humor that has pervaded the group’s music.
Dan Clark has never shown fear when it comes to his musical pursuits, as his work fronting The Dark Clan has so clearly showcased. Demonstrating his prowess as a producer, composer, and guitarist in virtually everything he puts his stamp on, his virtuosity lends itself well to his equally eccentric sense of humor; it’s not uncommon for him to throw in a blistering shred solo befitting a hair metal anthem into a pulsating beat-driven electro/EBM track while singing about vampires and making fun of goths in one song and rapping about hot girls in another. Though The Dark Clan has featured a revolving door of guest musicians over the years, the band has settled on a steady lineup featuring Clark, Lane Ellen, and Mercy Skye; as such, Hall of Fame is no less musically schizophrenic but somehow possesses a concentrated focus of mood throughout.
A wall of overdriven guitars and powerful drums reverberate in an open space that evokes a massive stadium, the emotive vocals gradually rising in intensity until the anthemic chorus of “Homecoming” introduces listeners to The Dark Clan’s latest musical outing. Strangely enough, the line “Don’t linger on the verses” sets the tone for the album, for despite its victorious bombast, the song almost denies us such notions of “mighty yesterdays,” dismissing them as “just the stories we tell ourselves.” Another track on the album that explores a similar dichotomy of lyrical and musical tone is “Kayaköy” with its energetic drum & bass rhythms, thrums of what sounds similar to a dulcimer, and soaring verses and chorus singing a lament for a Turkish ghost town once dwelt in by Greek Christians. And then, “Unheilschwanger Boom” turns right around with a confrontational display of pounding electro beats and pulsating synth, the samples hovering between humorous and haunting as the lyrics almost dare one to pick a fight. Similarly, “That One Friend Every Night” is a spastic collage of samples and recordings set to some rather catchy and bouncy electro with one of Clark’s signature guitar solos; it sounds fun (and it is), except for the fact that the lyrics are about that one friend “who leaves you face-palmed and confused” and to “make sure it isn’t you.” It’s certainly not outside of The Dark Clan’s charm to deliver a cautionary message in the most contrarian manner possible. “Nou Nou Pak” will be instantly recognizable for its funky rhythm and bass line, for while it doesn’t directly sample or cover Falco’s “Der Kommissar,” the similarity is obviously intentional, the chorus taking a left turn with a slower and more emotive vocal to make for the album’s first overtly playful track. “Danser Comme Un Bébé” plays as a jazzy lullaby, its funky bass and shuffling rhythms calling to mind something that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds might have performed to a band member’s newborn child after a whiskey-fueled bender, while “Pakas Taabarats” concludes the album with a beautifully entrancing electro eulogy, Clark’s voice climbing to lovely heights of melodic emotion, the opening lines of “Welcome to the hall of fame” giving the album a circuitous feel that encourages repeated listening.
As with any album by The Dark Clan, Hall of Fame is best understood if one simply doesn’t take it too seriously. The diverse range of musical motifs and lyrical dynamics at play are as clever and thought provoking as they are flippant and whimsical, and while this is one of the band’s less overtly humorous affairs, there are a few chuckles to be had if you catch them. That said, the subject matter of the album seems far more personal than on previous outings, as if Clark and company were faced with real issues of mortality and one’s place in a grander scheme… but expressed with tongues planted firmly in cheeks in typical fashion for The Dark Clan. Hall of Fame is a fine album for The Dark Clan, and is perhaps the group’s most coherent and consistent works to date; bravo!
The Dark Clan
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Dist0rtion Productions CD
Dist0rtion Productions MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)