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Dear Darkness

On Dear Darkness's sophomore album, Be Nice Honey, Stacey MacLeod and Samantha Linn are heard scouting the carcass of punk, lapping the liquor from its veins, and gnawing on its minimalist bones. The Detroit duo, regularly compared to T. Rex and Royal Trux, warp the essence of punk in 10 perfectly concise songs, with dirty, distorted electric guitar, crashing, bruised drums, and little else. But despite its simplicity, there's something here that goes much deeper. The sound is dense and gritty. The vocals evoke Bowie and the lost croon of '70s glam. The lyrics lure the listener with animal matter, from the devil and rock 'n' roll to suicide, sexual predation, doom, and classic angst and unrequited love. Recorded by legendary Detroit producer, Jim Diamond, who worked on the first two White Stripes albums, Dear Darkness's Be Nice Honey is tense, jagged--and catchy as hell.

The album opens with a slow, Sabbathesque guitar, pounding drum beat, and catfight shrieks. On "Pale Blue Ribbons" MacLeod rapidly spits out, "Every morning you sharpen your tongue/Who was there had seen us would've bid him run/ You choose your boyfriends from obituary columns/ You drink champagne to avoid your problems." The song is about the many suicide attempts of literary wit, Dorothy Parker. Be Nice Honey is instrumentally sparse, but on this track Matthew Smith, from Detroit band, Outrageous Cherry, plays Moog and adds a spacey pandemonium to the metal grind.

"You're Not Alone Anymore," a song inspired by Joyce Carol Oate's dark short story, "Where are you going? Where Have You Been?" is about the demonization of rock 'n' roll. The song is like a sweaty, fever dream. Smith's Moog is back, this time evoking the paranormal and Linn's sugary backing vocals eerily counter the frightened screams of a possessed MacLeod.

On the black and white album cover, MacLeod and Linn seem to be resting after a successful hunt. Linn is protective and watchful and MacLeod glares and dares you to come closer to their den. The music the duo creates is like-wise, taunting and feral. The guitar and drums on Be Nice Honey are savage and the vocals are wildly aggressive. The only deliberate element of the album is its sly lyrics. On "Mister, Hey," MacLeod mimics the faux-pomposity of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, as she suggests a one-night-stand: "Mister, do you like what you hear alright? /If ya don't, then keep it to yourself/ Because from you I want something else.../ It can be our secret, Tiger, yeah!"

On “The Devil’s In My Heart,” Dear Darkness channels the campiness of The Slits. MacLeod sneers, “I’m your enemy. I have two black eyes.” Linn’s drums lead the war march and her backing vocals are cool and wry.
MacLeod’s vocals go full-Bowie on “A Couple Fingers of Scotch” as she proclaims, “We’ll make out in the snow before the show and you’ll have to go…” The song is a blistered, doo-wop ballad. Drums, like gun shots, blast, and the guitar sinks as the verse lures the listener: “I’ll pour you a couple fingers of scotch and sing my love song for you.”

Dear Darkness formed in March of 2014. Stacey MacLeod, English professor, began playing in the all-girl band, Pop Roxy, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. After moving to Detroit in 2007, MacLeod met Linn and formed The Looms, The Heaven & Hell Cotillion, and finally, Dear Darkness. Samantha Linn, baker at Detroit's Trinosophes, maintains a solo-project titled Arch Mystics. Previously, Linn was in the successful Ithica, New York duo, April In The Orange, and was the drummer for Detroit's Outrageous Cherry. Dear Darkness recorded their first album, Pleather Pants, in Linn’s garage studio, June of last year.
The band is popular for their uninhibited, live performances. MacLeod abandons the mic. Swept up in rock 'n' roll and the energy from the audience, she dances to the corners of the stage, screaming out over the crowd. Meanwhile, Linn, seemingly reserved, plays so hard she breaks her sticks and suddenly drops to the floor between songs. The audience feels the thrall.