Released February 26, 2016
After four years in the making, Vancouver duo Rococode release Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon. Paying homage to Thom Yorke’s words of encouragement, the album’s title aims to blanket the songs under a feeling of contentment within mysterious nothingness. After several listens through their newest release, waiting for melodic hooks or lyrical depth to take hold, I’ve yet to reach that contentment. It feels it was written to be very safe. After the success of their beautifully simple, synth slow jam, Banks, expectations were set for Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon to be of that same quality, but it felt like aspects fell short.
Laura Smith’s haunting vocals introduce the album atop a driving electro-pop beat. Although the choruses offer a quick explosion of excitement, and an anthemic feel, much of A Diamond feels underdeveloped. Panic Attack, with its simple arrangement, relies fairly heavily on phrasing and vocal hooks to carry the song. However, the lyrics felt shallow, and the chorus, predictable. Baddest Sun, however, digs deeper than most tracks on Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon. Even through Smith’s silky smooth vocal delivery, there’s a raw bitterness that connects with the listener with or without the F-bombs. It fits the overall tone that the album’s title represents.
Next, is the very safe Until You’re Mine. The track’s synth-pop production gets feet moving, but there’s not much to sink into lyrically. Perhaps it was meant to just be a club banger. Standing alone stylistically, Cuttime offers the refreshingly passionate vocal performance from Andrew Braun that the record needed. Gritty guitar parts voicing atypical harmonies offer the perfect amount of juxtaposition with Laura’s vocals over a stripped down bridge.
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, the cheeky mid tempo number Hunter Gather immerses the listener in a futuristic soundscape. With seemingly more attention paid to having unique synth sounds than other tracks, a solid instrumental foundation is the base over which Laura’s vocals can be simple, without sounding lacking.
Then, like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film, with guitars soaked in tremolo, a laidback groove, and a beautifully haunting release in the bridge, Dead And Gone hits the mark. It’s the blood in the snow that helps the record along.
Crystalline, with lyrics that seem to have a less definitive meaning than previous tracks, attempts for the instrumentation, floating and curious, to take the listener on a thought provoking journey. The song, perhaps with the exception of the bridge, feels like it doesn’t come into fruition. It’s as though there was a conscious effort to keep one of the more avant-garde songs held in a mold. Don’t Worry is the slow motion, leather jacket-clad midnight drive. The textures of the instruments, although varying greatly, fit together beautifully on top of a groove that is effortlessly cool. However, the lyrics don’t feel on par with the instrumentation.
It’s not until the final track, Doom And Bloom, that varying dynamics really show themselves. It is bewitchingly melancholy, bringing back the tremolo-laden guitar stylings of Dead And Gone. With the perfect amount of simplicity in the rhythm section, the foreground is wide open to allow haunting vocals, virtual woodwinds, and a howling synth to have their shining moments. Doom And Bloom has the most emotional movement on Don’t Worry, and feels fully developed. The song has room to breathe and move as it should.
Equally lovely and underexplored, Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon is the full length that should have been a strong EP after the exclusion of a few songs. It is safe, and perhaps confused by being born in a cabin in the woods with urban music producers.