Jake, Jesse, Bobby, and Dustin have put together the best EP of 2016. “The Darkness Creeping In” is the debut release from Jake Dunn and The Blackbirds. The EP clocks in at just over 25 minutes, and not one second is wasted. From the first note of “Hard Enough” to the last sustaining ring of “I Don’t Know A Thing,” this album is nothing short of greatness.
I’ve talked about Jake Dunn before, and reviewed his solo album for Clutch in March of this year. Since that review was published, he has put together a band of extraordinary talent and written new original material. I have spent most of 2016 playing shows with Jake and the band, hearing these songs over and over again. Yet, I still listen to the CD every time I’m in my car. That should tell you just how good this album is.
It’s hard to put in to words just how easily this band gels together on stage. Jesse’s strong and heavy drums combine so well with Bobby’s steady bass lines and Dustin’s roaring Les Paul. Jake’s lyrics always set a mood so well, and the vocal hooks will be stuck in your head for days. I knew Jake Dunn and The Blackbirds were great live, and I’m happy to say that “The Darkness Creeping In” displays their studio talent so well.
“Hard Enough” is a perfect opening track, hitting a home run with a great hook and putting each member on display. The way the bass and drums lock in immediately is so satisfying and provides a groove for the song that even your grandma would love. “December Fourteen” slows things down a bit, with haunting backing vocals in the chorus and a guitar break that is nothing short of arena rock status. Dustin is one of the most talented guitar players I have ever met, and he is great at layering his sound to create the perfect lead guitar tone.
“My Evangeline” will probably be your favorite song on first listen. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song on the radio next summer. Its subtle guitar work and strong hook make for five minutes of rock n’ roll perfection.
“What I Wanted” is a sleeper track that grows on you more and more with each listen. The song slowly builds into quite a heavy tune with a dual-guitar outro that is strong and loud. Album closer, “I Don’t Know A Thing” is the softest tune on the album, with backing vocals that are perfectly delivered to push the song to the next level. You will be singing “I have been here waiting…” for days after hearing this song.
2016 has been a great year for local music in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Unfortunately, “The Darkness Creeping In” is so good, I fear that Jake Dunn and The Blackbirds will be taken from our local scene soon. This album is what talent sounds like. Even the production from Nate Sisson at Roshambo Studios is great and helps display the skill of these musicians. Pick up the album today and come see these guys soon. Chances are i’ll be right there in the crowd beside you.
Corey Shields is a singer-songwriter and Parkersburg native. He enjoys making music with his son and exploring new places with his wife. He has a deep love for breakfast foods and vanilla milkshakes. His music can be found on Spotify and iTunes.
Photos 1 and 2 by Kimberly Jones
Photo 3 by Backstage Photography