Michael Fremer Rated 9/10 Music, 11/10 Sonics!
Numbered, Limited Edition! Half-Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Jerry Garcia and Bob Weirs Dynamic Magnified, Bluesy Riffs Properly Textured! Gatefold Jacket!
Rolling Stone 2015 Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Jam Bands: The Grateful Dead Rated 1st!
The Dead Will Survive: 1987 Album Gave Band New Lease on Life, Best Studio Effort in More Than a Decade
In the Dark Contains Touch of Grey: Deads Only Top 40 Hit
Entire Album Boasts Continuity, Flow, and Cheer of a Memorable Live Show: After More Than a Decade, Group Finally Tallied Another Studio Masterwork
Part of Mobile Fidelitys Amazing Grateful Dead Reissue Series: Live/Dead (MFSL 2-365), Skull and Roses (MFSL 2-367), and Wake of the Flood (MFSL 1-366) also available on 180g LP!
In the Dark will forever be known as the Grateful Dead record that propelled the iconic band into the mainstream conscious more than two decades after its career began. Thanks to undeniable hooks, sing-a-long refrains, and shrug-it-off sentiments on the survivalist anthem Touch of Grey, the Dead was exposed to new generations of listeners and, in the process, became celebrity figures that packed football stadiums with fans. But In the Dark remains significant for many other, more important reasonsJerry Garcias stunning recovery from a coma, Garcia and Bob Weirs compelling dynamic, and an impeccable batch of tunes. It also stands bar-none as the sextets finest output since 1975.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and part of the labels unprecedented Grateful Dead reissue series, Mobile Fidelitys numbered limited edition 180g LP of In the Dark presents the Deads long-overdue breakthrough in attention-grabbing fidelity. Even in an era in which the most revered artists succumbed to the days prevailing sound (namely, slick textures and artificial keyboard-heavy production that evoked the feel of Saran-Wrap) the band remained obstinate in its allegiance to revealing fidelity. As it happened, the Dead recorded most of the record live onstage at Marin Civic Auditorium using the then-newly introduced Dolby SRa technology that permitted astounding instrumental separation, even when playing live. The groups inimitable blend now sounds better, more immediate, and natural than ever.
Everything including the clip-clop of cowbells, Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzmanns rhythm-devil grooves, Phil Leshs supple bass lines, Garcias sweetened timbre, and Brent Mydlands pastel-shaded keyboard melodies converges into a delightfully balanced, animate entity. The music possesses tube-like warmth and glow, and the bands renewed vigor and, particularly, Garcias mellifluous guitar tones and rippling passages, come across with irresistible immediacy, heft, and vitality. Several effectsthe revving of a motorcycle engine, which moves with precise imaging across an extremely wide soundstage and various synthesizer interjections among themhighlight lyrical turns and add winking humor. In the Dark is a late-'80s anomaly: A great and great-sounding rock album that isnt the least bit dated.
While theres no single secret behind the records success and its position as the greatest studio achievement of the Deads last two decades, In the Dark boils down to the essential ingredients of great songwriting and the kind of loose, spirited, frolicking chemistry that the sextet so often demonstrated onstage. Weir and Garcia engage in a friendly competition of gamesmanship. The rhythm guitarists cleverly cynical Hell In a Bucket is one of the toughest, nastiest songs in the Deads catalog; Throwing Stones, his image-laden treaty on greed, politics, responsibility, and the environment, benefits from a complex arrangement sent up with marching bridges and spidery guitar work.
For his part, Garcias haunting slow blues West L.A. Fadeaway makes room for Weirs skillful slide-guitar fills while the poignant, merciful reflection Black Muddy Riverdressed in gospel gowns and Biblical allusionscompletes the circle the Dead began back in the late 1960s when the group ended its marathon shows with the traditional spiritual And We Bid You Good Night. The white-bearded legend clearly has fun throughout, and, obviously energized by a second chance on life, pours his soul into the music.
Mydlands performance and presence aren't to be overlooked. Equipped with the vocal harmony potential of a choir of angels, his poignant backing singing on Black Muddy River aches with beauty. Similarly evocative, his lead on the hobo country-blues Tons of Steel evokes equal parts move-on sympathy and regrettable loss. It can be strongly argued that his piano lines and right-hand fills throughout constitute the most valuable the Dead ever received on a record. Chalk them up to an integral part of an album on which every star aligned, good fortune prevailed, and the Dead finally achieved the widespread recognition it had long been overdue.
The prototypical portrait of final-era Grateful Dead, In the Dark belongs in every record collection.
Mastered by Krieg Wunderlich at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Sebastopol, California on The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System.
"The original pressing was mastered DMM, uncredited, at Masterdisk. And that sounded great. But this Mobile Fidelity reissue is much better. Much better. It loses none of the original's spaciousness and transient clarity while sounding richer, fuller, more, dynamic, more three dimensional and depth-charged on bottom. The transient dynamic accents will have you jumping out of your skin if not your seat."
"If just as an example of the pinnacle of the analog rock and roll recording art, Mobile Fidelity's reissue of In The Dark is worth having." - Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 9/10, Sound 11/10!
Numbered, Limited Edition
Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
Special Static Free - Dust Free Inner Sleeve
Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
1. Touch of Grey
2. Hell In A Bucket
3. When Push Comes To Shove
4. West L.A. Fadeaway
1. Tons Of Steel
2. Throwing Stones
3. Black Muddy River