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The Black Heart Procession + Solbakken

In the Fishtank 11 (Touch and Go)

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With a simple but generous premise -- Dutch indie music distro Konkurrent gives bands two days in the studio to record absolutely anything they want -- the ongoing "Fishtank" musical project represents indie rock's unconstrained collaborative spirit. Its excellent 11th installment benefits from this cooperation: The sweeping gothic statements by San Diego's Black Heart Procession and Dutch natives Solbakken would make any paleface weep black tears of joy.

The gaunt specter of Nick Cave -- along with the dirge-heavy side of BHP's 2002 disc Amore del Tropico -- cloaks this deliciously funereal CD in a dark veil of swarthy piano, minor chords, and moody, fatalistic drawls. "Voiture en Rouge" conjures images of a French vampire flick, with shadowy strings marching to their death in step with seductive-temptress vocals. Despite the tragicomic lyrics of the bone-chilling "Dog Song"("There is a dog/That waits for me/At my front door/It lays asleep"), the poignancy of the disc-closing "Your Cave" -- an intricate latticework of pealing bells and unbelievable sadness -- supersedes all. In fact, in the best way possible, 11 sounds like an epitaph for the end of the world.

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