Get ready for a descent into eerie wonder: alt-pop artist Darwin presents Unkind Lover. The eerie track, featuring David J (Love and Rockets, Bauhaus) on harmonica, Dustin Heald on guitar, and producer/collaborator Julian Shah-Tayler (a.k.a. The Singularity), invokes the spirit of early 80s goth with a modern flair. It is a plodding, insistent, at times bluesy dirge.
The video, inspired by the writing of Dani Burlison, is an unnerving cruise on stormy seas as disembodied lips snarl out the lyrics in a half-spoken, Lynchian drawl. Burlison, who recently released a book of short stories called Some Places Worth Leaving, asked her friend Darwin to create music for a spoken word video for Shark Week, which features a character known only as The Unkind Lover. The collaboration proved irresistible to the Santa Rosa musician. “When I saw the final video, it struck me that it would be exciting to develop the music into a song,” says Darwin.
Darwin enlisted the help of Julian Shah-Taylor for the undertaking, as well as his friend Dustin Heald and finally David J. “Having been in a band with him for many years (David J & The Gentleman Thieves), I had gotten used to the sound of that instrument and I knew he would be perfect to put that final touch on it,” Darwin says. The ghostly harmonica wails mournfully over the vocals, repeatedly dashing the proverbial ship upon the jutting rocks. It is a masterpiece of noir.
The cover artwork was created by Mark Gleason. “He had recently finished a painting that perfectly matches the song…I love this tune and think everyone involved did a fantastic job. It was a real collaboration,” says Darwin.