Posted by: will | June 20, 2006

The Black Heart Procession…

BEST NEW MUSIC

The Black Heart Procession "The Spell" (Touch And Go)

The Black Heart Procession return with their fifth album, The Spell. The band's last album, 2002's Amore Del Tropico was an ambitious concept record dealing with the unraveling of a murder mystery within its fifteen tracks. Musically, is was noticeably different then the band's first three albums as well. While Amore Del Tropico was certainly a success it was an album that seemed to polarize the band's fanbase. The Spell is an album that will surely bring those groups back together. In fact, it could very well be the band's masterpiece.

The world that The Black Heart Procession enhabit is a cold and dark place. If you are feeling depressed I would not suggest you popping in The Spell or anything else by the band for that matter. However, on The Spell, for the first time, you could possibly call some of the songs…dare I say…catchy. Granted, it's not in an overt pop-music sort of way but it is certainly catchy in regards to the band's earlier material. Tracks like the moving "Not Just Words" have a tendency to get stuck in your head with lyrics like This will never be forgotten/These are not just words. The reason for that has a lot to do with the full band sound that is employed by the band for the first time on The Spell. Where as most Black Heart Procession albums have a tendency to slowly creep under your skin, The Spell is the first album that deals in guitar-driven tracks like "GPS" which displays the paranoia of having big brother watching you. "The Fix" also displays prominent guitar work. It does wonders for the band and perhaps breaks up the monotony that listeners may have sometimes felt in the past.

While the music certainly adds to the emotional weight that The Black Heart Procession casts, it's the lyrics that carry the band. Such as the aforementioned "Not Just Words" and on tracks like "Places" that examine the randomness of life with lines like So we travel to these places/we are carried by the wind. On the poignant album closer "To Bring You Back" speaks to the longing that can occur between two people with the line When I wake/A light seeps in/And I know I have no defense/Something took you away/But the nighttime will bring you back.

To see an established band continuing to expand their sound on album number five is a beautiful thing. However, The Black Heart Procession have not only expanded their sound on The Spell, they have created their best album yet. It's an album that digs in deep and tears at your heartstrings. Most importantly, The Spell lets you know that you can't possibly be alone in this bleak world of ours.

RIYL: Nick Cave, The Arab Strap, The Twilight Singers

Listen: The Black Heart Procession – Not Just Words (mp3)

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