Dark Blue, “Delco Runts”

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Philadelphia outfit Dark Blue is composed of players from Clockcleaner, Strand of Oaks, and Ceremony. Following the group’s emergence last year with the Pure Reality full-length, released via Jade Tree, Dark Blue has now shared the b-side to a new 7-inch, forthcoming via Austin label 12XU. Entitled “Delco Runts”, it’s apparently inspired by vocalist John Sharkey III’s time living in a depressed part of Delaware County.

It’s a song populated by misfortunate characters. And they’re all seemingly resigned to fixed fates. In that defeatist spirit, Sharkey opts for a languorous monotone that nevertheless conveys varying shades of dejection, as if the narrator’s steely resolve threatens to collapse under the emotional weight of his observations. Fittingly for a song slotted in the tradition of humorless working-class laments, the band moves slowly but purposefully, conveying muscle with the rhythm section and bittersweet respite in the solo, although sweet cedes to sour. The lasting impression, however, is searing pain.