5/7/17 – Black Wing “…Is Doomed” (2015)

Black Wing is the solo project of Dan Barrett (one half of my favorite band: Have a Nice Life). He’s also released music under the name Giles Corey, but all 3 projects have completely different feels. The common thread running through them is Dan’s signature sound and emotion he puts into his work. Have a Nice Life is dark and eternally brutal, Giles Corey is on a much more personal feel, and Black Wing is much more Synth Pop influenced. Dan uses the synths much more here than his other projects, focuses on the chorus, and builds around one melody.

Luther has changed from when he first released it online, but only slightly – the most notable is the melody of the bubbly synths. Regardless it impresses me, as it did on my first listen, that Dan could produce such a good Pop song given his lack of history in the genre. When that chirpy synth kicks in I always have the urge to move along with it. The first 3 songs of the album were released online before the album in full, some being several years old. Black Wing was the first, and it’s very much like Luther in it’s style and tone. This however has a much slower trance-like dance feel to it. I haven’t been fond of the synths on My Body Betrayed Me, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Something about the way they sound just feels misplaced or wrong.

Unemployed is completely unlike the previous tracks with this thunderous and echoing drum beat that feels like it belongs to Raime or Trent Reznor. It’s like a nightmare vision of a Pop song, it’s twisted and disfigured but it’s still there. The first few tracks on …Is Doomed have relatively clean production compared to the heavy reverb and noise that overtakes this song. Dan reaches with his experiment of an album with Death Sentences, a song dominated by the acidic synths, rather than the funeral march style drumming. I always think Luther is my favorite song on this album, but my love for Death Sentences grows as the song evolves. I just love how he keeps throwing on layer after layer onto the track as he chants: “Can’t relate, can’t relate to anyone”. If I Let Him In is somehow the noisiest on the whole album, but maybe that’s because it gets drowned in it completely for 6 minutes. This is not a Pop song at all, something much more in the vein of Giles Corey, much more dour and contemplative. …Is Doomed is an experiment that I feel succeeded, but it’s a bit delirious in it’s direction. I feel like he ended up going to his signature sound with the second half of the album, rather than sticking out the Synth Pop that he first set out to master. A second album with a more cohesive vision could make for an absolute blinder of an album, as good as this one is.