The songs Rebecca Zolkower wrote for All Dressed, the new EP/album from Halifax’s premier folk-pop vocal group Dark For Dark, are coded with uncertainties: “maybe”s pebble the beautifully haunting Blue Morning; on opener The Orchard a walk that is meant to “heal” offers “no cure”; on The Roof there’s an attempt “to prove/ all the science and the truth of sorrow”. These are small clues beneath the surface. They exist in exciting contrast to the confidence of the finished album, reminders of an earlier, lonelier season, like winter boots left by the door until summer.
The members of Dark For Dark are deeply immersed in the Halifax music scene: Jess Lewis performs as Cactus Flower, and as a member of Wet Denim and Escape Tapes; Melanie Stone is a member of The Heavy Blinkers; Rebecca Zolkower, as a member of Prospector’s Union and Dance Movie. Warboats, Dark For Dark’s 2013 debut, with its many contributions from peers and collaborators, warmly reflected this community spirit.
All Dressed is streamlined, but more expansive. Dark For Dark (joined by drummer Matthew Gallant) travelled to Crousetown, NS to work with producer/engineer Jay Crocker (composer in electronic music group Joyfultalk , member of Cousins and the Jon Mckiel band, and formerly of avant jazz combo No More Shapes) knowing his adventurous musical aesthetic would bring something new to their established sound. Together they built an unexpected sonic environment: reverbed drums and chiming electric guitars create a surprising and perfect acoustic home for the immaculate three part harmonies and signature vocal arrangements for which the band has been justly celebrated. It’s a sound that points as much to the early recordings of the Beatles and the 60’s girl groups, The Shangri-la’s, The Ronnettes, and The Crystals, as to the folk and country influences that are at the core of the band.