I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Chris Conti

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 96 Summer 2006
096 Summer 2006 1024X1024
I Love You But Ive Chosen Darkness

Courtesy of Secretly Canadian.

Last year, it became clear that the new crop of boy bands had quit harmonizing on stools in fedoras and line dancing in their videos, and had started picking up guitars. Blame it on American Idol backlash, but if you want to be taken seriously you have to write your own songs again, and play them too. In America, this tends to manifest itself in bands mired by bad SoCal influences: Blink 182, Hollister Clothes, highlighted hair. But it’s hard to get thrilled with a return to realness when all we get is the quasi-Christian Rock of Fall Out Boy or Taking Back Sunday.

That’s why I’ll forgive the Austin, Texas, band I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness the painfully sensitive name: because they come off more like sluggish, aging goths than cheery careerists. The darkness—and trench-coats—they’ve chosen are the typically British answer to current indie pop. Their new CD Fear is on Our Side (Secretly Canadian) finds inspiration in the pensive, layered and jangly guitar sound of late-’80s Britain that’s been recently reexamined by bands like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and Doves.

Part of the band’s charm is their understatement. Christian Goyers’s singing is hushed, wispy, and spare, always gearing up. In “The Ghost” he describes a fire-blackened building with such lethargy it’s easy to see why it was gutted. You nearly get lost in the song’s end, with Goyers repeating, “I think about how I miss you” over and over like dotted yellow lines on the freeway. The sensitivity is tempered, though—this isn’t Coldplay. The production by Paul Barker (Ministry, Revolting Cocks) finds a driving, hard edged, and menacing groove.

“If It Was Me” has the catchiest chorus on the album, with the lumpy bass following behind like a Nirvana jam. And while I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness finds most success with guitar melodies that repeat themselves all night, you can’t help but root for them when the smoldering heart of this song turns into an actual jam. This introspective, mopey band becomes straight-up rockers right before your very eyes. They take it back just when you want more. How smart! How British!

Fear Is On Our Side was released in July 2006.

Scott Walker's Bish Bosch by Bill Callahan
Edschoice Walker
Related
Les Filles de Illighadad’s At Pioneer Works by Nina Katchadourian
Three women (two carrying guitars) and one man walking through an empty square

Les Filles de Illighadad’s music is driven by three guitars but remains free from the “tyranny of the solo.”

He Is Not Appreciated: Two Books on The Fall by Clinton Krute
horiozontal, black-and-white headshot of The Fall's Mark E. Smith. He takes up the right half of the frame and looks off to the right with his lips pursed.

In the wake of Mark E. Smith’s passing, two recent releases—Excavate!: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall and Slang King: M.E.S on Stage 1977–2013—chronicle the legacy of The Fall.

Valerie June by Celisse
Profile photo of Valerie June against a red background

June explores the roots—and the promise—of blues, gospel, and folk music on her new album, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers.


This excerpt is from BOMB’s Spring 2021 issue.

Originally published in

BOMB 96, Summer 2006

Featuring interviews with Bernard Piffaretti, Liz Larner, Tony Oursler, Kimiko Hahn, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Park Chanwook, Anthony Coleman, Jesper Just, A.R. Gurney, William Forsythe.

Read the issue
096 Summer 2006 1024X1024