Dark, oppressive yet utterly enthralling...
'Darker Than Blue'

Blue Daisy is not a symbol for optimism; its North London initiator, Kwesi Darko, hit visitors to his debut album 'The Sunday Gift' with a backdraft of feedback-smothered trip-hop noir. A swirling, wraith-like melancholia featured divas clawing at distressed microphones, and drawn out death throes drew a fine line between celestial and post-apocalyptic.

Separating the Sabbath's reward and 'Darker than Blue' is a bleaker, ground level intake of hallucinogens that overpowers the original's fantastical imagining of grief, and Darko's extended verbalising of his apprehensions. With a post-Ghostpoet poker face, he bears the bruises of falling back to earth hard, but manages to pull a strand of liberation from the claustrophobic, penetrating pointed poignancy in monotone.

'Daydreaming' and its jazzy D&B optimism is only a false precursor to withdrawal into willowy synth textures given grand orchestral pushes with ambitions in scuzzy rockstar excess. Where 'Six Days' succumbs to relapse, the "living corpse in a world that would rather see me die" uses his outermost survival instincts, always trying to make headway in the face of destructiveness and futility. 'Heroine' thrashes like an icon left for dead, and 'Gravediggers' crawls over hot coals with feral transformation almost complete, though resting place 'You and Me' has a hint of MGMT trying to eke out civilisation's last drop of stardust.

Both imprisoned and preserved by dense walls of sound, once again Blue Daisy is an anomaly, looking for greater opportunities of broader appeal. It's pure, carefully conceived theatre, at a pace that you can never predict, without being an emotional descent that spirals over and over until you're wishing it'd buck its ideas up. Just add headphones, a full moon and a sturdy lock for the bedroom door.

8/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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