Who Needs Who, the new album by Dark Dark Dark, is a stirring and rich body of songs that sees the band breaking ground, and settling into the strengths of a quintet that has worked incredibly hard, both on the road and in their personal lives. The band’s commitment to their music has proven to be a double-edged sword.
The first single, Tell Me, finds Dark Dark Dark setting a new tone for avant-garde pop. The beat is up, the drums and bass propel the song, and Nona Marie Invie’s voice soars between impassioned yearning and a resigned, empowered hope that reveals wisdom.
Most of the material on Who Needs Who was written by Invie in Minneapolis, and arranged by the band on tour and in New Orleans, where acclaimed engineer Tom Herbers joined them to record. The recordings are as dynamic as their schedules, the places they choose to work, and their friendships. In some ways, it is a wonder they exist at all.
It’s no minor detail that Nona and Marshall LaCount, Dark Dark Dark’s co-founder and producer, were in a serious relationship that ended in early 2011, with a year solid of touring commitments ahead of them. On “Meet In The Dark”, Nona sings, “You want everything to stay the same, and then things change, but I’ll never get tired of singing these songs, no I’ll never get tired of singing these songs.” Despite increased tensions and heated arguments, the band showed immense patience and commitment to the music and their friendships. Ultimately, a five month hiatus at the end of 2011 and early 2012 allowed the band to heal, reflect and refocus. When the band reconvened in New Orleans for rehearsals, the initial awkwardness gave way to the creation of some of their most beautiful, revealing work to date.
“Many of these songs are about understanding and accepting the nuances of my emotions. The obvious parts and the dark parts. There are times when it’s important to quit fantasizing and face the truth about what is happening,” says Invie. Who Needs Who is ultimately refreshing and rewarding, and marks the beginning of a bold and promising chapter for Dark Dark Dark.