Darkness Falls – Alive In Us
HFN: 2011 Love and heartbreak push us to perilous limits, as the raw craving for affection can sustain the toughest soul or dissolve it to the brink of destruction. The longing reigns inexplicably, occupying the space where good feelings once resided. In those distorted moments, it’s tough to find reality: up is down, left is right, and color loses its hue. Danish rockers Josephine Philip and Ina seem quite familiar with that hazy delirium, if Alive In Us is an indication.
For 48 minutes, the duo — known artistically as Darkness Falls — takes listeners on a captivating journey through love’s dark corners, except the mood is never too gloomy or enraged. Instead, Alive thrives on self-examination as the group wonders what happened and how it can ascend from purgatory. “Where are you now? Are you in despair?” Josephine asks on “The Void”. “Were you ever here? Did I do you wrong?” Those questions are delivered with a certain despondence and a lovelorn angst that punctuates the album.
Sonically, Alive wields the same magic, with music steeped in psychedelic pop haze and bouncy electronica. In other moments, the soundtrack lives somewhere between the dusty channels of 1960s surf tunes and 1980s new wave, similar to the sounds heard in your favorite Quentin Tarantino flick. To that end, Alive In Us could double as the score to a cheesy B-movie, with its deep synths and warped guitar twang. In this instance, the compositions are as important as the lyrics on top of them, drifting nonchalantly in certain places and stomping decisively in others. On “Hey!”, for example, the upbeat dance instrumental is made somber: “If I can act right, will you tell your friends about me?” The same goes for “Before The Light Takes Us”, with its overt rock groove and Joan Jett aesthetic. Here, the tone is more desperate as the singer sounds exasperated (“It’s getting harder to hide, the tears in my eyes.”)
Overall, Alive In Us grows more optimistic as it plays, much like the person who endures the hardship. There’s the undeniable dark period that eventually brightens, then the painstaking decision to move on. Maybe that’s why songs like “Night Will Be Dawn” and “Paradise Trilogy III” seem appropriate in this set: “Night” feels dense and murky, while “Paradise” — the album’s concluding track — is carried by innocent human whistling and breezy ocean waves. This lends to the enchantment of Darkness Falls and its lush debut album: the lines are a little blurry and the mood feels somewhat confused. But that’s love, right? It can drain you, or make you feel very much alive. Quite the soundtrack for that elusive human emotion.4 out of 5