s Black Heart Procession
Amore Del Tropico CD - Touch & Go

The Black Heart Procession plays soul music. Although this kind of soul gives a regular man a heart attack. It’s not soul in the traditional sense of the word. This kind of soul would see Otis Redding Jumpin’ Off the Dock of the Bay or Ben E. King Choking on the Rose of Spanish Harlem. Black Heart Procession’s soul lies deep within a human where few tend to tread regularly. The dark spots within yourself that encapsulate pain; that’s where you’ll find them. And never has a journey into the dark sounded so good. ¶ Serenity, darkness and beauty are the themes that run through this opus. The record is a look into the murky waters that flow through singer/guitarist Pall Jenkins’ veins. The first track, “Tropics of Love,” looms like an impeding storm above an island paradise. The subtle Caribbean rhythms and lush sound set the bar for the rest of the record. The album is full of twists and turns throughout the lively set up. This set up rotating around Jenkins’ aching, sandpapered whine. Tales of murder, love and all things lost wisp gracefully around destitute piano keys, heavily reverbed guitars (almost surf-like, but on depressants) and palatial backing vocals. ¶ The band’s trademark bleak sound is still intact. However, now the band has thickened up the sauce considerably with the aforementioned components weighing heavily. Most tracks are moderate shuffles using Jenkins’ deft ear for song structure and lyrics as well as instrumental variances to stir things up and keep listeners interested. Using a stark violin and the ghostly quiver of playing a saw add deep elements to the songs. Tracks like “Did You Wonder” and “Only One Way” encompass shakin’ rock styles into the mix, making for the album’s sunny spots. But still maintaining the gritty, dark texture the band has come to perfect. ¶ Black Heart Procession has been known for making bleak records about pain during its four-album history. On Amore Del Tropico, the band has broadened its sound substantially to create a well-rounded soundscape while staying true to its roots. This album seems almost as if it could be the soundtrack to a melancholy foreign film. Truth is, Black Heart Procession has taken Caribbean spirit, strangled it and begun waltzing with the corpse, creating a sublimely beautiful masterpiece in the process. (Pat Wensink )



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