The glowing musical carnival of Dark Dark Dark

Chamber made
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  September 28, 2011

FEAR THE LIGHT Eerily soothing piano melodies, smirking accordion lines plucked from a New Orleans carnival, cloudy gang vocal harmonies, and lonely horn bleats inhabit the music of Dark Dark Dark.

Back when we had barely begun the long and terrible journey towards self awareness, most of us thought of darkness as something menacing and unsafe. Many of us still do. This is why Marshall LaCount and Nona Marie Invie, five years after dubbing their then-nascent chamber-pop project Dark Dark Dark, are getting really sick of having to explain that they are not in a metal band.

But, one hopes, even a few of the smarter toddlers understand that their nightlights will not do them much good if, in fact, child-eating monsters lurk in their closets. Nightlights don't protect them, and never protected any of us, from monsters. They protected us from uncertainty and from our own imaginations. Maybe everybody's got it backwards, and the designation "Dark Dark Dark" fits this innovative nomadic septet quite snugly. It's darkness itself that's a little misunderstood.

"Whether or not it makes sense, at times it's just a name. Other times, it means something. It's grown with us anyways, so I guess we're going to keep it," says LaCount, who plays banjo, clarinet, and occasionally sings lead.

Eerily soothing piano melodies, smirking accordion lines plucked from a New Orleans carnival, cloudy gang vocal harmonies, and lonely horn bleats inhabit last year's Bright Bright Bright EP and full-length Wild Go (both from Supply & Demand Music). Thus far, the catalogue of Dark Dark Dark could be mistaken for lullabies inexplicably emanating from a deserted lakeside cabin haunted by Tori Amos and Gogol Bordello . . . except that, thankfully, Amos and those affiliated with the Bordello camp are alive and well, and therefore can't haunt anything.


Perpetually prolific, LaCount says new material is already in the works for release this year. His aptitude for multitasking carries over into non-musical endeavors, it seems. He's fielding questions while riding his bike through his home city of Minneapolis. Voicing some concern over the prospect of being quoted saying " 'n stuff" a lot, he does not come across as at ease with this whole interview ordeal.

"Don't quote me saying ' 'n stuff,' " LaCount requests. "Some guy just quoted me saying 'n stuff' a lot. Sometimes I forget that people can quote whatever they want, even if it's not contributing to the content of their writing . . . or maybe it does, by revealing my real conversational tone."

A little eccentric exactitude is to be expected from a dude whose band just spent a month, commissioned by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, scoring Fritz Lang's 1928 frantic espionage epic Spies. They also had their misty single "Daydreaming" featured in a poorly acted breakup scene on Grey's Anatomy last year — to give you an idea of the wide variety of aesthetics and situations where Dark Dark Dark's incidentally mystical art-folk applies. If I had a bunch of cars I needed to sell, I'd license the Dark's rendering of Elephant Micah's homesick lament "Wild Goose Chase" off Bright Bright Bright for a commercial, even though that song seems like it's about not wanting a car, or at least wanting to stay put. That's not a sentiment Dark Dark Dark share themselves, for the most part.

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