Album review: Blackout Problems – Dark

Social commentary meets soaring emo on Munich quartet Blackout Problems' third album...

Album review: Blackout Problems – Dark
James Hickie

Hell is truth seen too late, a wise person once wrote. If that’s the case then there’s more than a spot of hellishness about Dark, the opening track of which, MURDERER, includes the lyrics ‘Take your dreams to the streets now’ and ‘The best politician is a dead one’. In light of the recent storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters attempting to overturn the outcome of November’s presidential election, resulting in congressmen blockaded inside and five people dead, these words take on a terrifying new significance.

Keep listening, however, and MURDERER, about the 2019 killing of a German politician by a far-right fanatic, reveals itself as a paean to love and positivity. It’s these kinds of tonal juxtapositions that make Dark an album you have to pay close attention to. That’s made easy by the fact it’s so bloody catchy. But while new single GERMANY, GERMANY takes aim at the troubled history of this quartet’s home country, justifying the ‘dark’ half of their ‘Dark-Pop’ tag, the ‘pop’ component can occasionally feel a little frivolous for some of the subject matter.

The overriding sound on Dark is the kind of anguished vocals and bombastic theatricality synonymous with noughties emo, a treatment that makes for strange bedfellows with some of the more serious messaging. It makes for an original listen, though, and is used to particularly persuasive effect on the soaring DARLING and throbbing title track.

You could argue, of course, that converting unpalatable truths into edible confections takes skill and is an enviable act by a band with a young audience. The heaviest thing about Dark are its words. And while they’re occasionally thrown a little too lightly, you have to admire Blackout Problems for getting them into the ears and timelines of the next generation.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: twenty one pilots, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon

Dark is out now via Music For Nations.

READ THIS: Punk, patriotism and dead politicians: Join Blackout Problems in their fight against prejudice and hatred

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