THE LOST PATROL – Dark Matter
As its title implies, the seventh album from New York's Lost Patrol (and second with singer Mollie Israel) finds the band characteristically digging ever-deeper into the darker recesses of the human psyche via reverb-soaked surf guitar, lonesome 12-string rhythm and haunting female vocals.
The great potential Israel demonstrated on the band's last album, 2008's Midnight Matinée, has blossomed considerably on Dark Matter. Here, her lilting voice fully inhabits the melodic twilight of tracks such as "These Days", "Nobody There" and "Ever After".
But looks can be deceiving; indeed, beneath Israel's wan exterior lurks latent, predatory muscle. "Now you keep me / Like a disease" she wails over the menacing groove of "In Your Blood", like an obsessively crazed ex capable of a whole lot more than flattening your tires. This incarnation resurfaces later within the majestic gloom of "Justine" (based on the de Sade character of the same name), wherein Israel admits, "I love the way they tortured you, Justine". Even the yé-yé-inspired bubblegum of "Before I Go" has a decidedly dark cast about it.
On Dark Matter, the band has evidently found common footing given Israel's underscored presence and the supporting roles in which bandmates Stephen Masucci and Michael Williams have seemingly cast themselves. And while this is most assuredly a good thing overall, the band's ardent long-time fans may find themselves lamenting the absence of the soaring and mournful instrumentals that Masucci and Williams brought to the Lost Patrol's earlier work.