There’s an air of mystery to Ink. Shrouded in smoky noir-pop, Dark Tropics abstract their atmospheric songwriting by engulfing these brooding elements around a captivating central performance that beguiles and bewitches.
The pensive ballad ‘Badlands’ serves as the opening scene. Flickering with cinematic stylisation, the song finds Dark Tropics casting Ink’s milieu with emotionally expressionistic lyrics, subtle production and striking vocal presence. This melding of the duo’s most vital elements plays into Ink over-arching sonic narrative as a record with darkened corners contrasted by hazy overtones.
Ink makes use of this widescreen feel, adding flashes of colour to the monochromatic edges of Dark Tropics music. ‘Moroccan Sun’ adds a jangled retro-pop vibe sonically, allowing its hook-laden chorus to shine through. While the tense string-woven ‘The Drug’ merges performance and production as the music moves dynamically with the vocal. Likewise, ‘Escape’ raises the duo’s dream-pop core to the fore, giving Ink a broad palette to draw from while maintaining a cohesive feel.
However, it’s ‘Keep Searching’ that encapsulates all of these blended stylistic elements best. Rich harmonies, dark lyricism and slick pop songwriting all meld into one, resulting in a track that mirrors the hazy and noir-pop contrast of Ink itself.
And so it goes, Ink is an album that doesn’t forget the pop part of dream-pop. Dark Tropics weave a spellbinding record, where both the noir and pop elements are amplified with subtlety. Most importantly, the album understands how to add enough musically and lyrical mystery to invite repeated listens. Stylistically and atmospherically weighty, Ink is the perfect opening act for Dark Tropics.