As a local witch casts her spells on a small, Oregon port town, some unsuspecting locals meet their fate in the vast coastline. It’s a darkly brewed scene set to The Hackles’ video for “Dominoes,” the latest single off the duo’s second album A Dobritch Did As A Dobritch Should (Jealous Butcher Records).
Steeped in their folk and indie roots, Kati Calborn and Luke Ydstie’s vocals move in melodious waves on Dobritch, a follow up to their 2018 debut The Twilight’s Calling it Quits. Co-produced by Adam Selzer (Alejandro Escovedo, Von Trapps), the album’s title, and country-bluesy track “The Show Must Go On,” are a nod to the Bulgarian circus impresario and producer of Las Vegas’ Circus Circus Casino, Al Dobritch, who eventually met a dark end in 1971.
However gloomy the overtones, Dobritch is a lush, melodious journey through all the good and bad in life—the things we can control and those out of our control. Bluegrass flows in Dobritch’s instrumentation—everything from vibraphone, a Wurlitzer and harmonica are audible with Ydstie even tapping into an accordion for slow churner “The Empty Cups.”
Claborn and Ydstie, who met auditioning for Portland-based indie-folk band Blind Pilot more than 10 years ago, pull all the elements together on Dobritch, including “Dominoes,” a lush track that’s more tranquil than dismal despite its visual tale.
“Dominoes was inspired by the licentious history of the small port town in Oregon, situated where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, that we call home,” Claborn tells American Songwriter. “The song is a worker’s lament, a rumination on life as a participant in a rigged game, and the tale of a witch who turns her victims into sturgeon, doomed to a long life haunting the bottom depths of a grey coastline.”
Filmed in Astoria, Oregon, where the couple (both still part of Blind Pilot) reside with their 5-year-old daughter, the video features an all-local cast and crew, including all “witches” and “victims.”
“It dives into the details of the song’s narrative with decades-spanning Pacific Northwest voodoo,” says Claborn, “chance encounters with dire consequences, and the water, eternally waiting.”