What You Need To Know - August 11, 2016

D.A.R.K.'s Science Agrees: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

D.A.R.K.'s Science Agrees: What You Need To Know

An English bass player, an Irish singer and a Russian DJ walk into a recording studio... no, it's not the opening line of a joke, but the result of a new collaboration between former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, Cranberries vocalist Dolores O'Riordan and New York-based DJ Olé Koretsky. They're called D.A.R.K. and their debut album Science Agrees arrives in stores this week. Here's everything you need to know…


A little background...

D.A.R.K. began several years ago as a collaboration between Koretsky, a regular on the New York club scene, and Rourke, one half of The Smiths' rhythm section. Rourke has been DJing for many years and the pair became friends after appearing on the same bill together, soon forming a loose musical partnership under the name Jet Lag, spinning tunes together and working as remixers or producers for a handful of artists while making music together on the side. Over a period of around five years the pair amassed 40 or 50 songs, without being too sure what they would do with them, but then the pair hooked up with former Cranberries vocalist O'Riordan, with whom Rourke shares a manager, adding her vocals and lyrics into the mix and selecting 10 of their best tracks for a debut album.


Who's producing it?

Koretsky and Rourke have handled the production themselves, working mostly out of a fairly low-rent recording setup at Koretsky's home in Brooklyn, but it has travelled a bit too, with O'Rordan's vocals recorded in Canada and mixing done in California, while the mastering was taken care of in London.


Any special guests?

Nope, it's just the three of them.


What does it sound like?

The first thing to say here is that if you're expecting Science Agrees to sound like the middle ground between The Smiths and The Cranberries, it doesn't. This is a very different beast and while Dolores O'Riordan's voice remains as distinctive and identifiable as ever, musically speaking this is an album that owes more to the synthpop of the 1980s than anything else. Lead-off single 'Curvy' is a case in point, blending the moody atmospherics you'd find on a Joy Division or early New Order record with the kind of blue-eyed melody you might associate with the likes of Pet Shop Boys. 'Gunfight' continues in a similar vein, all pulsing synthesizers and ghostly, whispered vocals from O'Riordan and Koretsky. 'Loosen the Noose' is one of the slower grooves on the album, borrowing heavily from Russian alt-rock outfit Agata Kristi and featuring O'Riordan and Koretsky duetting on a lyric about control and voyeurism.


Does it deliver?

There's a palpable sense of freedom about Science Agrees that suggests neither Rourke or O'Riordan have any intention of trying to appeal to the existing fanbases of their former bands, but that's not surprising considering that Koretsky seems to be the main creative force behind D.A.R.K. and their debut album is very much its own thing. In part it sounds like a sort of homage to the synth-heavy pop music that prevailed in the 80s, albeit a variation with an undercurrent of the claustrophobic paranoia that tinted that decade, perhaps a result of Koretsky's upbringing in the alternate realities of Soviet-era Odessa and Reagan-era New York. If moody synth-pop is your thing, this is well worth a listen.


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