DNKL - new single

DNKL returns – review of Draft

DKNL – review – Draft – new single

Different Recordings

8 lovely, dark stars

“Swedish Noir-Pop Make Long Awaited Comeback”

Draft is one of those words with both good and bad meanings in English. Draft can be the first thing you hand in, a step to having completed a paper, or a book, or even an email that must be scrutinized first. A first step, but a conquering of the blank page or electronic things that save everything for us, hidden in the geometric lines that the news uses to show when they are talking about the electronic realm. The graphic that makes it look like they understand what’s going on. On a simpler note, draft can be beer, cold, easy, straight out of the keg. And in these dark times we seem to be going through, it could mean the threat of war. In America, you can’t get a loan for college unless you’ve registered for the draft.

Not to mention, we’re in an era where most artists know more about their foundation than their production. It’s a business. Visual rules auditory. Reach for the cold draft, and forget the rest.

On a much happier note, Draft is the new song from DKNL. I don’t think they’d mind the prolonged introduction too much, because their music has always seemed to be multi-layered and dark, filled with all the fears and beauty of the deepest part of the night. It’s brilliant that they have returned – their debut EP, Wolfhour, garnered praise from a multitude of places – The Guardian, Fader, Noisey…me. The dark structure of their songs enabled a thrilling complexity to emerge, lifting us well beyond the usual electro drop. A release of emotions, a northern lights of surprise and awe.

It’s poppier than their previous offering. The dreamy vocals have given way to a more direct call. Does this expand their audience? You can only hope so, but by widening their appeal, the change of mood in no way dilutes the vastness contained in their music. Now all the depth is there if you want it, a soundtrack of horizon and desire that should be heard on a couture catwalk, a backdrop to movement, a chic soundtrack to every sleek posturing that assembles at night.

“I’m lying on the sidewalk, watching you walk by me.” The introductory line asks questions, could be ignored, like whoever is on the sidewalk.

When it goes a bit jazzy, opening up again, a club floor filler, it reminds you to dispense with your worries.

“Keeping you awake at night.” Except for the music. And the hidden meanings. And the treble synth sound almost mocking the lyrics, brittle pop defiance.

The chorus gets deeper, so electronic and fizzy, but with the resonance of the bass notes not so much a rattle as an earthquake. The jazz part, when it comes around again, feels more intense, like you’ve just realized you’ve fallen in love.

And there is that softened tin pipe sound at the end.  Every sound bears the hallmark of craft. You can listen to it with your headphones up, disappearing into the mind map of their creation. Or you could be swallowed up by it on the dancefloor. The soundtrack to a million escapes.

DNKL has created the perfect summer track, evoking the promise of late nights and unspoken connection, under an observant star-filled sky. There is still the delicious spaciousness to their sound, the skillful craft of the production. Apparently, the oldest dated rocks on Earth are more than 4 billion years old, formed during the Hadean Eon. It’s true. And DNKL sound as though they are finding the echoes of something deeply buried, Apparently, there are meteorites, like those found in Antarctica, that are older. It’s uncertain to know which deep ore DNKL are mining for. One could hope that they don’t abandon their galactic quest in favor of the usual race after the earthly limelight. But to focus on that would be to avoid the sensual accessibility of this track. Strong and buried promises all could be unearthed by their sound.

There is always one track, early on, that seems to hint at the atmosphere of the summer to come, at the promise we all want, the eventual freeing of our wants. DNKL offers this up as the perfect invitation to the next season.

Review by Alice Severin

my old interview with DNKL

my review of Wolfhour

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