For those keen on jumping to conclusions, the connection between current lockdown isolation and the theme of this song will not be lost. Those who dig a little deeper will quickly realise that the isolation here relates more to loss and regret, and to moving on, emotionally rather than the current state of enforced affairs. Though the added weight and increased relevance make’s Darwin‘s message all the more poignant. And if that seems a slightly melancholic subject, it is better to think of this as a celebration of the single life, of appreciating the joy and freedom of being able to be exactly who you want to be without having to conform to others expectations. This is glass half full music, and even the other half is filled with hope, optimism and personal space.
It is also an interesting reminder of music history, that punk wasn’t important for the sound it made but the doors it opened and through those new doorways and with new musical mindsets came artists who really changed the landscape. And it is to the sonic traditions of some of the finest and most important of those that Darwin seems to tip his creative hat. You can hear the cool musical economy of Love and Rockets and an echo of Ian Curtis’ dark lyric visions but also the echo of more recent torchbearers such as Editors or Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
It also reminds us that such music is the bastard offspring of punk and disco, energy and dance distilled down to its very essence and this is a resurgence of a sound which never really went away, perhaps only deeper underground. Such music is also the perfect champion of the importance of alt-pop, dark-dance…it doesn’t matter what you call it really…when you compare it to the pop being pushed today. Dance Alone is a musical manifesto which declares in no uncertain terms that pop can be cool, pop can be edgy, pop can be mysterious, alluring and beguiling. Pop can be sexy and then some. Need proof? Just play Dance Alone until you break your programming. Keep playing it until you start seeing, or should that be hearing, sense.