The Dark Beaks grew from the Dunedin tradition of guitar pop; their sound shaped by this city’s DIY attitude, indifference to musical trends and the isolation of living on the edge of the world.
They recorded their album Spill Your Heart themselves in a large basement room on simple gear and self-released it in 2006 to an appreciative audience of Kiwi jangle-pop lovers and around the world.
The album received enthusiastic reviews in independent music publications in the US, UK and Germany as well as radio play in the US and Germany. A Low Hum’s Blink reckoned it was a gem of a record, recalling the hey-day of Flying Nun jangle pop and (re)released it as the bonus album with A Low Hum series 3, CD 9.
The Dark Beaks have been around on and off since 1998. The Dark Beaks were the band Andrew formed when his previous band Munky Kramp dissolved. Munky Kramp burned brightly but briefly in the 1990s, with their explosive punk-ska-rock-funk mix. Munky Kramp singer Demarnia Lloyd went on to join Dunedin freak collective Mink who released two underappreciated leftfield pop albums in the mid 1990s (Andrew contributing backing vocals to one), before setting out on her own journey as Cloudboy.
The old Dark Beaks line-up, which featured at times Tom Bell (David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights), Heath Te Au (Mink, The Puddle, Suka, Heka) and Bronwyn Kingi, parted ways in 2000. Andrew decided to revive The Dark Beaks again in 2004 as an outlet for his songwriting.
Two Dark Beaks songs were released last century on Arc Cafe compilations. Roll Along can be heard on Arc: Music of Dunedin (Arc Cafe 1998). Maribellu can be heard on Arclife (Arc Cafe, 1999). An alternative mix of Seal Was Unbroken, features on the 2005 Radio One sampler CD. Dream About You features on the A Low Hum series 3 No. 2 CD and In a coalmine on series 3 No. 9 CD (which also has the whole Spill Your Heart album as the bonus unreleased album CD).
As well as Spill Your Heart released 2006 The Dark Beaks have a very low-profile limited edition (100) CDR available containing an hour of various treasures, including two tracks left off the album, three songs from a totally wired 2005 live-to-air performance at Radio One in Dunedin, some demos and a bunch of instrumentals.
There’s also a recent (2010) recording called “Nothing” which can be found on the DUD#2 Dunedin Comic Collective Compilation download album.