Dark Blue | Pure Reality (Jade Tree)

darkblueThis is not a bad album; however, the overall sound of the album is schizophrenic and all over the map.


Composed of John Sharkey III, Andrew Mackie Nelson, and Mike Sneeringer, Dark Blue has released its newest effort, Pure Reality, which is based on the sound of early ’80 s artists like The Psychedelic Furs, The Cure, and especially Joy Division. While Dark Blue may at times be more upbeat than the aforementioned bands, they tend to drone on, soon making for a monotonous sound.

Produced and recorded by Jeff Ziegler, this album suffers from too loose of a production. The material seems to be crying out for some sparkle and shine. Vocally, Sharkey sometimes channels Ian Curtis and Richard Butler; however, with little vocal variation, the lyrics and melodies get muddled.

Eerie and desperate-sounding at times, the album does have its moments, however. Spotlight tracks here include “Dear Iris,” a rocker á la Psych Furs/Bowie. With a catchy hook the more pop-oriented “Sounds like Hell on Earth” is nicely held together by a simple bass riff, and “City Eyes,” with a killer punk riff and a monotone, raw vocal, captures the city-type edge of which the band should use more. The album’s production is very high-end and could use a stronger foundation. Yet, the tracks mentioned here are strong, and it would be to the band’s credit to reexamine their material, and grab more of the raw edge.

Overall, this is not a bad album; for fans of artists like The Cure, Psych Furs, Joy Division, and the like, it will sit well. Yet, the overall sound of the album is schizophrenic and all over the map. Dark Blue needs to define who it is, and then put its best punk foot forward. C- | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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