Black Heart Procession – 2

What is this? The Black Heart Procession is yet another band that has received numerous glowing reviews. It’s on some people’s best of the year list. I don’t even know what it is. Is this a rock band? Is it folk? Is it gothic? Is it symphonic? Is it goth-folk-rock? I prefer the last one. This is one interesting album, the band’s second full-length. It features Tobias Nathaniel and Pall A. Jenkins, both of Three Mile Pilot, and ex-Clikitat Ikatowi drummer Mario Rubalcaba. The Black Heart Procession play slower rock with lots of acoustic guitars, soft drums, deep bass, and unique instruments. These include (as listed in the liner notes): pump organ, trumpet, saw, sheetmetal, waterphone, sh-1000, toy piano, wurlitzer piano, moog, clavinet, and unspecified “noises.” In fact, these instruments show up on almost every song. The album is full of unique noises that are all put together to, surprisingly, make coherent music that, after about the 15th listen, really grows on you. The vocals are soft but emotive, unique with a bit of a folky sound. They add an intensely emotional feel to the songs, which deal with heartbreak, lonliness, and sadness (what more could you ask?) There is a definite folk influence to The Black Heart Procession. “Your Church is Red” could have been sung in the 60s. And how can you not sound folky with a saw and sheetmetal and the drawling vocals. This is one unique album. It’s good background music, but pay attention at least a little bit. Otherwise, it comes back up to haunt you at odd times, spitting out the eerie whine of the saw or the pounding of the bass and drums. The name alone inspires thoughts of some deeply disturbed gathering of freaks. It’s just not the kind of thing you want to drive to, make love to, or do almost anything to. Just listen, let it sink in. Maybe by the 15th or 20th listen, you can learn to appreciate it.