Slingshot Dakota has been keeping fans in the dark with the long-awaited release of their debut album, Dark Hearts. The indie punk duo composed of Carly Comando (keyboard, vox) and Tom Patterson (drums, vox) make Dark Hearts an accurate title, as the music emits a darker energy that will make the happiest person sink into a state of semi-depression as soon it starts playing. Smiling while listening is entirely out of the question.
Short opener “Another Cigarette” is dominated by piano, followed by Comando’s persistentand echoing calls. The track slickly slips into the next, “May Day,” a cheerfully upbeat xylophone-filled song with gloomy lines. Comando’s delivery of the lyrics is similar to someone conveying a backhanded compliment with a smile on their face. “We’re waiting, we’re waiting for the world to end. We’re waiting, we’re waiting for our friends to die,” Comando sings softly. Later on in the jokingly jolly jingle, she belts out some “oh oh oh’s” that make it easy to forget how disheartening the song actually is.
Dark Hearts consists of its fair share of waiting, something the fans can probably relate to with all the anticipation that has built up for this album. As depicted in multiple songs, Slingshot Dakota is waiting for a disaster, for the next mistakes, for themselves to break and for someone to wait for them. Frankly, they might be waiting for a while. Comando sings it best: “All this waiting is weighing down on me.”
“Gossip” picks up the beat and uses even more drums and xylophones to set an even merrier mood. “If I wanted to have a night out like this, I could have stayed in and turned on the TV.” Comando’s cry that she’d “rather spend the night alone” is reminiscent of every teenager’s life at least once during the week. From listener to listener, every word in this song is relatable. However, upon hearing the all too familiar line, “I’ve had it, I’ve had it, I’ve had it up to here,” the feeling might be mutual for the listener.
“Never Hear” puts an interesting spin on the whole concept of someone saying what they think you want to hear. Instead, Comando defiantly teases, “I can make you say all of the things I want to hear.” She’s out of denial and has risen above the bullshit. “You know we’re never gonna get it right, so let’s stop wasting our time.” Such brutal honesty is refreshing to hear, especially in a time where people only say what they really mean behind computer screens or in text messages where tone is easily taken out of context.
Slingshot Dakota has much to prove with such a simple sound, but this simplicity is essentially their niche. Comando’s faint vocals are supported by Patterson’s light, metronome drumming in addition to all of the extra instruments that get thrown in the mix such as the keyboards and xylophones. Slingshot Dakota can “go to bed knowing that [they] tried.”
Besides, Comando reassures us that, “we’re just getting started.”