Hailing from my homeland of Ontario, Canada, Dark Mean are a trio of musical eccentrics drawn together by composing music for play. Their debut EP, frankencottage is the first of three they hope to turn into an album, named after that same play, “The Constant K Determines the Ultimate Fate of the Universe”. That first EP is brilliant.
Only four tracks long, frankencottage manage to draw you in and treat you to a little something different in every song. “Happy Banjo” sounds a little like the fantastic Meursault, all crackling drum machine beats and banjo melodies, but fronted by a less anguished Conor Oberst. Title track “frankencottage” has something of Amnesiac-era Radiohead about it, with a far poppier, organ swelling chorus straining to get through, before it’s released halfway through and grows from that point onwards. “Lullaby” is all plaintive guitar plucks and whispers before it decides to cheer up and lets the banjo take the fore and strident background vocals and yells fill us all with hope. “China” rounds everything off by starting like a more orchestral, sparse Cold War Kids, and building into a synthier, more ambient track by the end.
Each song acts like a little journey, segueing into the next with ease, creating a flowing EP that never allows for repetition. This is a band completely capable of creating something truly beautiful, and if this first effort is anything to go by, that seems probable. Canada has been blessed with another alternative-indie act we should all be watching.
I haven’t decided on a favourite track yet, but I’ll post “Lullaby” below, and if you decide you like it as much as I do, the rest of frankencottage is available for free on the band’s website.