May 6, 2016 | Bob Portella
Deardarkhead’s Strange Weather
South Jersey's deardarkhead have been toiling away in somewhat obscurity for what seems like decades...28 years to be exact. They play an atmospheric, instrumental rock style (self-described as "oceanic") that owes debt to British post-punk bands like The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen and Cocteau Twins.The Linwood-based band, which formed in 1988, has had their fortunes change recently. A new deardarkhead record "Strange Weather" was released on March 25th on the Texas-based label Saint Marie Records. Reviews and response to Strange Weather have been very positive so far from many corners of the world. A previous compilation of their earlier material from the 1990’s was released in 2011 on the Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, home to popular indie rock artists such as Mac DeMarco and Beach Fossils.
The recent resurgence and reunions of many similar-sounding bands, defined as “dream pop” or “shoegaze" (such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Lush) have helped lesser known, yet hard-working bands such as deardarkhead find a wider audience. “Unlike the well known bands from the original shoegaze scene, we’ve never stopped playing since we started and people are finally beginning to discover us. Although we have evolved over the years, we have tried to remain true to our sound while still being modern and not stuck in the past. We don’t make music for the masses, and given the sorry state of mainstream music today we wouldn’t want to,” says drummer and founding member Robert Weiss.
The band also comprises guitarist Kevin Harrington who joined in 1992 and bassist Kevin McCauley who joined in 2010, replacing former bassist/vocalist Michael Amper. They remain an instrumental trio to this point,but would be willing to find a vocalist if one came along. “Losing your singer would be a major setback for most bands, but it has forced us to be more creative in our songwriting and we are very happy exploring our new direction; it would really have to be the right person,” says Weiss of the situation.
For now, deardarkhead's power resides in Harrington's melodic,flowing effects-laden guitar lines and the sturdy rhythm section of Weiss and McCauley.Recording and production was done in Philadelphia's Miner Street studio, bringing out perhaps the finest sounding piece of music in the band's career. For now, who needs vocals? There is so much to take in and get lost in their epic, shimmering sound. Hopefully, deardarkhead's fortunes will continue "Falling Upward"-- as noted in the propulsive opening track-- proving that persistence does indeed pay off.