Dave Buker & the Historians – It Moves In the Dark
With a title like It Moves in the Dark, I found myself anticipating this release more than perhaps I would have otherwise—not to say I wasn’t looking forward to it, rather that my intrigue was piqued. There are a few characteristics in music that get me automatically excited. One of them is an element of darkness. Another one is a turn towards quirkiness.
So, if an easy-listening group (as far as my ears are concerned) proposes something that mixes the two above characteristics, I’m eager to listen.
My first time hearing this album start to finish was live, at the band’s album release show. Though the album overall moves at a gentle pace, it packs a lot of elements in, in spite of only being 36 minutes long. The live performance was virtually identical (on paper at least) to the studio recordings. No extra frills or folks adding the flourish of extra brass, strings, or percussion. I actually found this approach to be refreshing when taking in the album in recorded form.
“Someone I Could Never Be” sort of embodies the sound I imagined this record to have based on the title. It is a little rough around the edges. It isn’t really a rock song, but it rocks hard. Vocalist Leanne Buker (Dave takes a backseat this song) sings in steady yet ominous tones. As I sit here typing this in Grandview, I can smell the fumes of one of my patio neighbor’s cigar and I can’t help but think that’s somewhat fitting—not in a bad way, but in an ambience-enhancing way.
Songs like “I’ll Leave It Alone” and title track “It Moves In the Dark” are a bit more like what I’m used to hearing from the band. The former is a quieter song accentuated by warm guitar tones and the latter inhabits that pensive rainy-day space that the bulk of Buker’s release What Can Bring You Back to Me? The back end of the album feels a lot like a Decemberists record, actually. It takes me back to the days of the Crane Wife.
Man, I think I’ll put on “The Island” once this spin of the record is done. I maintain that you can tell the quality of an album based on what it puts you in the mood for next, and The Island (a 12-minute epic) from The Decemberists is a classic.