Two years on from their Choice Prize nominated album We Love You Dark Matter, Dark Room Notes are back with their self-titled second album. Dark Room Notes is a short affair with only eight tracks but it has a clean, polished and restrained sound than their previous release.
Their drummer Darragh Shanaghan departed the band in April 2010 and was not replaced, but instead of impeding the band’s progress it has brought on a cleaner deeper electro sound.
The opening track ‘Wallop Waves’ is a statement of intent, a clear signpost of where the band is heading to, with a progressive dark synth build. Taking up the mantle is ‘We Got Love’, keeping the darkness but adding a new romantic twist, an elegant minimalist electro pop track.
The first single from the album ‘ Baby Don’t Hurt Me No More’ brings some lightness with a sample (albeit distorted) of the ’90s Hadaway hit ‘What is Love’. As with nearly all the tracks here it is imprinted with an ’80s DNA: equal parts house, electro and disco.
‘An Alignment Part I and Part II’ is a bright breezy electro pop two-parter with the quirkiest opening to a track. Singer Arran Murphy’s vocals come to the fore here, having been very much in the background in the preceding tracks. The blips and beeps marry with the guitar hooks to create superb electronica. While ‘Melt This High Strangeness’ has shades of Cut Copy with the brooding synth and perfect pitched vocals.
Dark Room Notes is an album from a band truly hitting their stride and realising their potential, a confident assured follow up. Even taken in isolation it is exceptional, a small but perfectly-formed dark electro pop album. It will definitely be a soundtrack to the summer, perfect for the lazy hazy days, the messy nights and dancing inside tents.