I have to say, I came in expecting a more abrasive and produced sound from this project. But I’m more than down to be wrong because This Pale Fire is a hot mixture of alt rock, acoustic softness, and the general contrast between the two. It makes for a strong musical narrative and shapes the song structures with ease. Taking this approach, The Pale Fire really develop their sound on Dusk and take things from formative beginnings into loud, nearly anthemic fruitions. See the second track, for example. “The Night” has single written all over it. It’s yearning and reserved, but just when you get comfortable they throw back their heads and fuel a fire that no amount of water could subdue.
The following track is equally as strong and in a distinctly different way. I hear Carbon Leaf in “Waves” and it’s lush beyond its initial setting. Corban’s vocals shine as he delicately delivers the verses and steps up to the chorus in true frontman style easily navigating his break between upper chest voice and falsetto. The snare trots along without changing the groove much, and I’m strangely comfortable with it.
There is a slight bopping rock beat that finds its way toward the closing rounds of chorus, but that’s just smart musicality. However, percussive choices deviate a little, and on “Siren Song” Nick strikes a very peculiar bell, perhaps of a cymbal, and it’s just jarring – still a mere second of slight in his many moments of rhythmic command.
“Stormy Weather” opens with a heartfelt playback of what sounds like a break up message, supported by the faint patter of a gloomy rain. One can imagine hearing that news and having no choice but to sit in that grief and look to heal. But us musicians, we write to heal, and Corban seized this opportunity to craft the finest love song on the album. Again, he showcases that strong and pure falsetto while still balancing an anchored tenor at the core.
As he pushes more with his range, so do the guitars as they scream into distortion and beg the drums to collide down onto the scene, pounding away with the force of all the pent up emotion. It’s a great arc and satisfies its theme with near perfection. Dusk is a lot like the literal - a last glimpse of light before an impending uncertainty of darkness. Will there be salvation within the void? These are the songs that seem to ask that question. Take a listen.
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