Sitcom writers should pay attention to the story of The Dark Romantics. Eric Collins and Dean Paul are the head songwriters and good friends. Both also happen to be married… to two sisters! The duo enlisted the help of their wives, Amanda and Carla Jones, to aid them in their desire to complete their new musical endeavor, The Dark Romantics. They were up to the task, with Amanda on keys and Carla on bass. Their friend, Fifi Salomon, eventually became their full-time drummer. I’m sure it would make for an interesting reality show backstage, though we have enough of those as it is. Perhaps a musical spin-off on the conclusion to a fictional Wedding Crashers? Nah, let’s just stick to the music. Their debut album, Some Midnight Kissin’, is the best debut album I have heard so far for 2007. That being said, I have only listened to a few debuts for the upcoming year but I believe that Some Midnight Kissin’ will definitely remain near the top this time next year, as the quality of several songs sound quite hard to beat for a debuting band. Their name is surprisingly accurate, even if it may sound a bit clichÃ©. Collins and Paul construct melodically synchronized pop music that often portrays typical lyrical emotion caused by heartbreak and despair. The songs are led by the guitars of both men and the brooding vocals of Collins. Synths supplied by Amanda Jones are not used enough to label The Dark Romantics as a “synth-heavy” band like The Killers or She Wants Revenge, but they are used effectively in the occasions that they are utilized. As far as comparisons go, I was reminded of The Rosebuds, ironically a husband-wife duo. Each song lends itself to the contemporary garage rock revival, resulting in several songs which are likely to get some commercial exposure due to sheer catchiness. We have seen the similar formula from bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and The Strokes, but the fact that they offer no new musical innovation whatsoever will certainly not stop The Dark Romantics from an eventual commercial breakthrough.
The thing is, unlike Brandon Flowers or other egotistical frontmen, Collins knows how to provide the appropriate emotion and variation to his vocals in relation to the song’s central theme. The difference in songs like ‘She’s A Fire’ to ‘A Million Bucks’ are very notable, as Collins can successfully transform from the dramatics of Morrissey to the punk rock intensity of Colin Newman in a significantly short span of time. Whether it’s ‘This Is The Sound’ or the eventual single ‘Another Song For Another Night’, Collins has a fondness for singing about his heart breaking, which would be almost ironic if it wasn’t for their name. ‘Of Loving Me’ and ‘She’s A Fire’ are also great successes on an album where the majority of tracks are strong. In relation to my previous Rosebuds reference, the chord structure for ‘Of Loving Me’ reminds me highly of the Rosebuds’ ‘Boxcar’. It is just a coincidence though, as The Dark Romantics blend their own style of emotional hooks for the irresistable chorus. Along with ‘Hey Love’ and the dance-fused closer ‘I Gotta Feelin”, ‘She’s A Fire’ is one of the slower and more emotionally perplexing songs on the album. For two guys with presentable wives in their band, it may often seem a bit over the top for the heartaches that Collins and Paul deliver, though I would guess that they are reflecting on the past. The Dark Romantics may appear to be just another garage rock revival band with a fondness for the bleak lyrics of Morrissey to few, but underneath the typical delivery there lies some excellent songwriting.