‘Deadcuts’ – ‘Dark Is The Night’

A lesson in stealth, ‘Dark Is The Night’ unfolds over 13 tracks with a tractor-beam allure, lets you have a look around deep into its murky corners and then spits you out the other side 38 minutes later, wondering what just happened . It’s an addictive puzzle-box of a record, one that offers continual rewards long after you realise the puzzle is unsolvable.

A lot of this is down to the album's lyrics, a darkly-coded explosion of plot-lines that weave like a map of the London Underground but without stations where you can board or alight. ‘Kill Desire’ offers imagery that seems almost romantic - ‘The rough and the smooth/The dark and the fair’ – until the chorus offers the sinister dénouement of ‘limitless predatory manoeuvres’.


Likewise, 'Ragged Star' juxtaposes light and dark imagery in the same breath - 'I left flowers in the ashtray where our music used to bloom' - to mesmerising effect. Like some of Royal Trux greatest works, these are wholly un-preachy lyrics – no lessons to be learned here, draw your own conclusions.

But the greatest thing about this record is the band itself. Mark Keds is one of rock's most distinctive voices and here, his laryngitic delivery is perfectly matched by Jerome Alexander’s shape-shifting lead guitar and the powerful rhythm section work of Mark McCarthy and Trevor Sharpe (the rumble of bass and jump-start of drums that begins ‘DK’ is thrilling).

From the quiet of ‘Ragged Star’ to the choppy chaos of ‘Pray For Jail’ right through to the epic ascending of final track ‘Without Love We Perish’ the band assert their identity in performances that seem to react to the lyrics as much as they accompany. The instrumental middle passage of ‘Without Love We Perish’ is a masterclass in how to continue a story long after the words have vanished into the ether, taking it into the stratosphere so much so, you are left at the song's end wondering whether it will ever come back down.

‘Dark Is The Night’ has been part of my daily listening for months now and I suspect it will be for ages, perhaps indefinitely. It’s got me saying things that I usually loathe like ‘it’s got layers’ but it’s reconfirmed to me every time I listen to it so I’ll let it slide this once. If the next record is as great as this one, then I will be having words with myself.


Order this CD for £8 here

See DeadCuts in Cambridge on April 4th, book here