The Not-Beach Boys

The dreary musings of the Black Heart Procession’s Pall Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel have never been affected by the sunny beaches of the band's hometown, San Diego. Like Tindersticks and Arab Strap, the band has chronicled the most unpleasant corners of the head and heart with unforgiving candor. A dozen years into its career, the Procession has returned with a drily titled sixth album, Six. Jenkins’ voice endures as a craggy and mournful presence, while Nathaniel again turns his multi-instrumental abilities toward creating a richly inky backdrop. It’s tempting to connect the recent reunion of the pair's former band, Three Mile Pilot, to some renewed sense of urgency on Six, but in truth, it’s very much of a piece with the albums before it. That’s a good sign: Fans may have worried that age would mellow Jenkins and Nathaniel or dull their jagged edge, but with songs named “Drugs” and “Suicide” among the new batch of 13, there’s no danger of that. And if the band’s M.O. seems to be little more than a self-conscious morbid streak, remember that you can’t very well master gallows humor without dwelling long and hard on the gallows.

Bellini opens.
Sun., Nov. 15, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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