Black Heart Procession Amore del Tropico

The orchestral flourish that opens the album signals a shift from the suicidal to the homicidal, and fans of the Black Heart Procession are the better for it. This time round, the purveyors of gloom go Agatha Christie, structuring the song cycle around an unresolved murder mystery. A theatrical sense of menace pervades, but they take us to a much warmer climate than before, with a foray into tropicalia that surprisingly never sounds affected. Vocalist Pall Jenkins’ saw and guitar work is prominent, but female vocals are a welcome addition, as are the noir touches of tinkling piano and ticking clocks. Rather than dirges, their slower songs are lush and sexy, and once or twice the band even ventures toward full-on rocking out. At one of these moments, Jenkins asks, "did you ever wonder why we bother sometimes?” A strangely uplifting question for anyone mired in an expiring relationship, or even just unhealthily obsessed with making music. (Touch and Go)