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I LOVE YOU BUT I'VE CHOSEN DARKNESS (Buy CDs by this artist)
I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness EP (Emperor Jones) 2003 (Secretly Canadian) 2006
Fear Is on Our Side (Secretly Canadian) 2006

Heavily influenced by the Cure, Joy Division and other '80s bands on the faultline between goth and electro-pop, I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness, from Austin, Texas, play post-punk that sounds more like vintage Manchester or London. That puts them in league with Interpol, exploring the enduring value and appeal of moody minimalism.

Formed in 2002 around former members of Windsor for the Derby Christian Goyer and Jason McNeely (who has since left the lineup), the quintet got Spoon's Britt Daniel to produce its five-song EP, an indistinct debut most notable for "I Want to Die in the Hot Summer," which sounds like the poppiest end of New Model Army.

Ministry man Paul Barker's production on Fear Is on Our Side was just what the doctor ordered: a slight industrial edge, including radiator hisses and clanking machines, provides a darker template for the melodic melancholy. Every song is compelling, from the catastrophic narrative of "The Ghost" to the foreboding instrumental "The Owl." The ideal form here is Depeche Mode-style love songs: "In a perfect world / In perfect places with you," frontman Christian Goyer sings on the excellent "According to Plan." I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness are proof that a black celebration, done right, never goes out of style.

[Jason C. Reeher]