Blackheart Society
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Blackheart Society

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"Blackheart Society - Live"

DEEP ELLUM — It's a curse. Every time I get all grim and grave and zealous about doing my journalistic duty and furrow my brow and brandish my notepad and unsheathe my pen I find to my deflating disappointment that the idiotic thing is out of ink. Unfailingly. So let it be known that since I am perpetually without writing implement and unable to take notes, what I'm about to say about The Blackheart Society's live show at Double Wide July 7 comes straight from the heart and not the cerebral cortex (or even the loins, even though all the fellows in the band are fetching young lads, black-hearted as they may be): They killed. They were freakin' sweet.
I kind of knew it was going to be an awesome show because I didn't get a parking ticket or lock my keys in my car, which was an inordinately auspicious start to a show, but before they'd even finished their opener, the entire crowd was in on their slightly disheveled little secret; the somewhat limited fidelity of their recordings to this point really belies the depth and beauty of their sound. It's somewhat rare to see a band whose songs sound better and more potent on stage than on record (The Strokes and The Flaming Lips come to mind), but TBHS certainly get the gold star; they sounded absolutely gorgeous. Each component of their self-described "new"-post-modern-with-a-60s-psychedelic-twist sound was tonally perfect, audible, and resounded with clarity (vocals included....shocking!!).
TBHS are that rare gem of a group who are masters of their effects rather than mastered by them, and their technical proficiency and abundant use of said effects result in the touchstone of their sound: lush, organic, beautiful harmonies, the potency of which cannot be overstated. Their sound is rich, thick with ambrosial harmonies, layer upon layer upon layer of dense melody (which was briefly hampered by what was initially a somewhat flat performance by Ben Fleming (due to minor technical difficulties) - that corrected and perfected itself by the time the rain-soaked ballad "Whiskey Railroad" was unfurled).
In an attempt to describe their own sound, TBHS state: "If you were to take bands such as The Kinks, Syd Barret, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Wilco, Radiohead, The Beatles, Gang of Four, Supergrass, Queen, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Floyd, Air, The Jam and thousands more, you get Blackheart Society!" Frankly, that description doesn't do it justice; I'm sure hazy days of playing those records was incomparable inspiration for the band, but the brilliance of TBHS live is their ability not to simply emulate the great sounds of their predecessors but to synthesize them. There are points of recognition throughout their repetoire, but it would be difficult to claim that TBHS really sound like anything you've heard before.
The Blackheart Society is a convocation of lovers; they love their crowd (scant as it may at times be), they love their band, they love their craft, and the music itself coils lovingly around your ear drums like an afghan and carries them off to whatever sumptuously overgrown places the boys are in when they compose these euphonic indulgences. Their love is such, in fact, that they've decided to take a temporary break from live performances to compose new material and refine themselves for their listeners. There aren't many live acts I could recommend more highly.



Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...