With its sun-drenched beaches and temperate climate, San Diego isn't exactly the place one would associate with a band like Black Heart Procession. Yet the trio managed to dodge tanned muscleheads after forming in 1997, mainly by crafting music suited to pasty-faced melancholics and readers of Dostoyevsky novels. Their first three albums -- sequentially numbered 1, 2, and 3 -- were an inadvertent trilogy of introspective despondency: piano plodding with the weary gait of a shuffling prisoner, languishing slo-core tempos, and dark murmurs of resignation from vocalist Pall Jenkins. Their 2002 effort Amore del Tropico sounded on the surface a bit less like a funeral march, although its minor-key strings reinforced the spidery gothic tones of their most piercing work. Indeed, the Procession's underrated 2004 album, In the Fishtank, recorded with the Dutch group Solbakken, revisits the bleakness of its early albums. Be sure to check out the diabolical French vocals of "Voiture en Rouge" and the heartbreaking, worn-out epitaph "Your Cave."
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