Torched Review – The Dark Flowers ‘Death Valley 69’ FT David J and Char

Indie Dark Country act The Dark Flowers return with a teaser four track EP entitled Death & Desire for Indian Summer, its second studio album, to be released late 2021. “The EP is a direct response to our current situation”, says celebrated songwriter and project producer Paul Statham (B-Movie, Dido, Peter Murphy). This new EP takes four of the Indian Summer contributors to create a Dark Flowers Murder Ballads collection distinct from the album sessions, with tracks chosen by the participating artists.

David J image/ @paulstatmusicart

The Dark Flowers is a collective of singers brought together by Statham. Its debut album Radioland, inspired by Sam Shepard’s Motel Chronicles, was released in 2014 and featured vocal tracks by Jim Kerr and Peter Murphy, amongst others. Fast forward 7 years to another themed thriller, the Death & Desire EP covering Murder Ballads, with the lead off track ‘Death Valley 69’ (Sonic Youth/Lydia Lunch cover) featuring Bauhaus bassist and solo artist David J on vocals along with the lovely Char. Other featured artists on the new EP include Gabriella Cilmi, The Anchoress, and Shelly Poole.

The teaser track off Death & Desire ‘Death Valley 69’ Ft David J and Char includes a hair raising video accompaniment with the stage being set in and around Death Valley, California along with the infamous home of The Manson Family, Spahn Ranch. As a solo artist, David J tends to step out of his comfort zone often, exploring his own personal affairs across a broad spectrum of experiences and topics. Albeit a cover track, I feel like ‘Death Valley 69’ is no exception to the rule as David J channels Manson’s dark and sinister energy turning it into something quite glorious and cathartic in the end. David J’s interpretation starts off with deeply haunting echoes and spine tingling vocals that transform into desperation and downright creepiness. Char adds charm and playfulness to the surface of the track that is far more sinister on the underground, reminiscent of the Manson girls recorded vocals here.

It’s no big secret that the Bauhaus Family has always had somewhat of a tumultuous and powerful dynamic that goes all the way back to it’s origins. For those of you who have not yet read David J’s book ‘Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus Black Magick and Benediction‘, David J dives into break-ups, inner circle struggles and strained reunions which have all become the norm throughout the history of the band. This new video for Death & Desire riddles with a collocation of reflective imagery that takes us all on a dark journey into something seemingly much deeper.

The Manson Family lived on the ranch between 1968 – 1969 where they worked together to take care of the chores and horses in exchange for free rent. Spahn Ranch was previously used as a western movie set and later as a horse back riding retreat. This is where The Manson Family lived, as well as Barker Ranch, during the time in which he ordered his followers to murder budding actress Sharon Tate, her husband Roman Polanski and several others including Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. The ranch’s owner, 80 year old George Spahn was also murdered and buried in a remote spot on his property. Here’s a good insightful story on The Manson Family.. Here.

Above images Charles Manson, Manson Family, and Spahn Ranch (Life Magazine)

‘Death & Desire’ EP is released on March 19, 2021 via Loki Recordings. The second album from The Dark Flowers, ‘Indian Summer’ will be released later in 2021 via Lo-Jinx.

Pre-save ‘Death & Desire’ HERE

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