The Zipstream

 Null Device and The Dark Clan explore uplifting African beats

The novelty of split releases with two bands covering each other’s songs never seems to get old, but the trick unfolds better when the bands in question aren’t such polar opposites. Case in point, the new Null Device/The Dark Clan split EP, Fading Belief.

Although The Dark Clan’s electronically reinforced guitar-vamping charges a lot harder than Null Device’s synth-driven, Far East electro-pop, the bands share shadowy tones and dark emotional explorations as common themes. So it’s pleasant to hear The Dark Clan convert Null Device’s billowy ballad “Breathe You In”—off this year’s Suspending Belief—into a blistering emo-rock missile, and to hear Null Device dial down The Dark Clan’s guitar-wailing anthem “Wait. Stop.”—from this year’s Fade/Dance Magic Dance—but it’s not very surprising how well both songs transfer between styles.

The biggest surprise here is the collaborative track, “Fading Belief,” and its buoyancy and genuine ability to lift the spirits. Swirling up twinkling keys, bouncing African percussion, swelling strings, and earnest vocal harmonies (while maintaining individual touchstones, like ND’s squelching electronic atmospherics and DC’s scorching guitar solos), the big-hearted track wouldn’t sound too out of place in a stage production of The Lion King. But when the gang teams up on the chorus and unleashes sentiments like, “This waiting / this dream that I have / these friendships I treasure / this life moves too fast,” you get the feeling that they really mean it.