Dark was an English hard-rock/psych band that issued the album Round the Edges on small-press Sis in 1972. Recordings from the band’s remaining years of activity were later released by archivists Kissing Spell.

Members: Bruce Duncan (bass, guitar, vocals, 1968-70), Steve Giles (guitars, vocals), Charles Hiams (drums, 1968-70), Martin Moloney (organ, vocals, 1968-71), Clive Thorneycroft (drums, percussion, 1968-71), Carl Bush (bass, 1971-72), Ronald Johnson (bass, 1971-77), Martin Weaver (guitar, 1971-72)

Early Lineups, Demos

Dark formed in Northampton in 1968 when 15-year-old guitarist/singer Steve Giles advertised for musicians in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo. An early lineup — with bassist Bruce Duncan, drummer Charles Hiams, and organist Martin Moloney — demoed four songs in 1969 (“All Through the Night,” “Maypole,” “I’m Not Sad,” “Grey Man”) and two in 1970 (“Bad Taste,” “Cloud of Unknowing”). With bassist Carl Bush in lieu of Duncan, they cut multiple tracks in 1971, including “Wasting Your Time” and “Could Have Sworn.”

By early 1972, Giles secured a new lineup with guitarist Martin Weaver, bassist Rondald Johnson, and drummer Clive Thorneycroft. Weaver cut numerous demos in The Wicked Lady, a heavy-psych trio that would later have two discs of archival material released on Kissing Spell.

Giles chose the name Dark as an ode to French model and actress Mireille Darc.

They rehearsed in an old, fungi-ridden cellar and played a high-profile opening slot for Status Quo in nearby Wellingborough. Alan Bowley, a local engineer, recorded acetates of the band originals “RC8” and “In the Sky.” In July 1972, Dark entered S.I.S. Recording studios on Military Road, Northampton, to record their album.

Round the Edges

Dark self-pressed 32 copies of Round the Edges in mid-1972. It contains two Giles originals (“Maypole,” “R.C.8.”), two with input from Johnson and Thorneycroft (“The Cat,” “Zero Time”), and two group-written numbers: the recent “Live For Today” and the Bush-era “Darkside.

Round the Edges was recorded July 9–13, 1972. Giles — who financed the cost of the sessions (£34.68) and production (£87.17½p) — hand-glued pictures onto the plain white sleeves of the first 12 copies. As a budding photographer, he took the cover image: a local vicar’s daughter, seated in a Victorian living room, looking out a bay window.

Dark gave the initial copies to friends. In light of the warm reception, they pressed another 32 copies. They sent the album to several labels, including Island, which arranged an industry showcase for the band but flaked on the event.

Later Events, Reissues

Dark disbanded in late 1972. Giles and Johnson cut further material up through 1977. Weaver formed the Mind Doctors, which cut a symphonic rock album circa 1976 that was later released on Kissing Spell as On The Threshold of Reality.

Round the Edges gained cult status after a 1991 LP reissue on Darkside. In 1992, Kissing Spell issued the album on CD with the 1971 demos and one uncredited track. Both versions have different cover art from the 1972 hand-pressed original, which had its likeness restored by Italian archivists Arkama on multiple color-vinyl reissues.

Kissing Spell unearthed further vintage Dark material on Teenage Angst (The Early Sessions), which contains the 1969–71 demos; and Dark & Tarsus (Unreleased Sessions), a split disc that contains the 1975 Giles/Johnson jam “Darkness Rising” parts I and II, plus three 1971 tracks by the Bowley-produced power trio Taurus.


  • Round the Edges (1972)


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