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Dark Dark Horse - Centuries

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 8 / 6 / 2013

Dark Dark Horse - Centuries
Label: Function Records
Format: CD


Memorable but repetitive debut album from Leicestershire-based electronic duo, Dark Dark Horse

Dark Dark Horse is a collaboration between producer and ex-Kyte and current member of Maybeshewill Jamie Ward and singer James Stafford from Kids in Cars. I have been lucky enough to catch them live when for which they add Joe Norledge and Robin Southby to the stage. The pair have a good working relationship when it comes to knocking out tracks. Jamie writes the music and James has turned the electronic doodles into the tracks we hear on their new debut album, 'Centuries'. The pair come from deepest, darkest Leicestershire, and, after posting some initial demos they had made online, their music slowly grabbed attention from around the globe until one recording label based 5000 miles away from their hometown got so interested that they offered them a deal. Rallye, who have worked previously with bands such as Toro Y Moi, Au Revoir Simone and the Joy Formidable, offered to release 'Centuries' in Japan last November. The band are now setting their sights a little closer to home and gaining day time national radio play. BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson has been championing them, and they have also been tipped for the Mercury Prize. I saw Dark Dark Horse live when they supported Fossil Collective on their recent UK tour, but they have ventured out on the road with other artists too such as Mono, the Twilight Sad and Clock Opera. The album, which has been released on Funktion Records, is an intense affair harnessing the three major entities in life - past, present and future –and analysing the different moments in each as we grow up and meander our way through life's often troubled path. James's often melancholic voice is sombre but easily compatible with Jamie’s electronic warbling - none more so than on the first track 'Sharks' and 'Spit out Regret', but for me the oddly-titled 'The Sound of Muscles That Have Frozen Closed' wins the category for bleakness. This is an excellent, if morosely-crafted first outing for the Leicester boys. I keep drifting back to the early eighties when I listen to this as we had a flux of electronic duos then such as Yazoo, Soft Cell and Erasure which draw inevitable comparisons. This is a time further on from that musically in the sense that the drumbeats have progressed from then and the samples/programming have evolved to the stage that is evident here. One thing that worries me though is that the diversity of the tracks here is a little on the short side. Not that the tracks all sound the same, but if Dark Dark Horse are to progress they need to change a few things here and there to keep it fresh. Nonetheless, however, this is a memorable start which could see Dark Dark Horse coming up on the rails and running with the big boys.

Track Listing:-
1 Sharks
2 Ethics
3 In a Lifetime Before
4 Spit out Regret
5 Southwest of Orion
6 The Sound of Muscles That Have Frozen Closed
7 Midnight Mass
8 Two Gestures
9 Mercury Nevada
10 Centuries
11 An Endevour

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Interview (2013)
Dark Dark Horse - Interview
Dave Goodwin speaks to ex-Kyte and current Maybeshewill member Jamie Ward and Kids in Cars singer James Stafford about their Leicestershire-based electronica duo Dark Dark Horse and 'Centuries', its debut album

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