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NEW ROMANTICS TURN THE BEAT AROUND

The Dark Romantics: Heartbreaker

Desc:CD REVIEW: ARTIST: The Dark Romantics
Label:Lujo
Format:Album
Media:CD
Genre:Recording

In 2006, the debut album from this Lakeland combo blithely glided along the rails of danceable indie-pop that was so in vogue at the time. In the two years since the release of Some Midnight Kissin’, the indie landscape has shifted considerably, with the beat-oriented end of things given over wholesale to dance-floor dominators like Justice, leaving indie rockers to be, well, indie rockers. With Heartbreaker, the Dark Romantics correctly take their cue, delivering an album that brings to the fore their previously buried facility with melodic melodrama. The new emphasis simultaneously keeps the band from sounding like yesterday’s news while allowing them to more fully explore the compositional potential that’s made them one of the area’s more interesting bands.

Heartbreaker is a straight-up indie pop record – the Dark Romantics aren’t really breaking new stylistic ground here – but their songs bear witness to a musical thoughtfulness and emotional depth that’s often missing from the genre. Tracks like “The Death of You,” “Gimme a Kiss” and “Hush Your Mouth” are largely low-key numbers elevated by impressively grandiose arrangements and the deep-throated emoting of vocalist Eric Collins. The result is an album that has far more in common with a group like the National than it does with fishwrap like the Faint. Whether this new direction was a crass, market-sensitive decision or simply evidence of the group’s maturation is an irrelevant distinction; with Heartbreaker, the Dark Romantics have created a strong and dynamic work that stands beautifully on its own and bodes well for their future.

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