Ever get excited to hear that a band decided to come back and record another album? Happened to me. Happens all the time. However, this is one of those unique instances where my introduction to the band is their triumphant return to the scene. I’d love to think I have my finger on the pulse of all things indie rock, but let’s be honest: I have a job, I have two kids, a Netflix account and a blossoming interest in Minecraft. There’s only so much time in the day.
So when I received word from Hamilton, Ontario’s Dark Mean that they were releasing their EP Samuel The Phoenix after “effectively hibernating from the music scene since 2011, when we released an album that received far more attention than ever anticipated” it garnered a harrumph that I had missed them the first time around. But second chances are everything and I am fortunate that I found their musical journey sitting in my inbox.
These are four tracks are self-effacing and sweet; each built on the conceit of an indie structure with electric and acoustic guitar arrangements, drums that don’t overpower the song, with keyboards and horns peppered in here and there. What you’re left with is the sound of gently gliding over everything; you put in your headphones and it slows everything down, allows you to pause and take everything in. Dark Mean’s frontman, Mark Dean (…wait a minute – no, I lost it) invokes Mark Oliver Everett’s raspy vocals and add to the coyness of each song. Sandy Johnston’s guitars and Billy Holmes’ rhythm section keeps every song simple while still building layer upon layer of an ambient powerhouse.
Dark Mean has been on a several year path to self-discovery which has taken them across the world and back home again. Even though I did not get a chance to start at the beginning of their journey, I am glad to have been able to meet up with their music along the way. The charm of their music is infectious and I am grateful for these four tracks to be able to tap into a deeper part of myself. I look forward to tracing the remainder of their trajectory, wherever it may go. Samuel The Phoenix is out now, so go grab a copy and see where it takes you.