For the alternative/pop/rock band Black Lab, love lost and found is viewed through a cinematic lens. Like scenes from a movie, songwriter Paul Durham shoots every line like a heartbroken reel, lit with the radiance of his soaring voice.
In 1998, Black Lab was signed to Geffen Records and mesmerized modern-rock radio with the haunting singles “Wash It Away” and “Time Ago,” both Top-40 hits on alternative rock and pop formats. The group’s intelligent, heartfelt lyrics and wide-screen guitar attack had them compared to U2. Radio programmers hailed the band and their astonishing debut, Your Body Above Me, as the Next Big Thing.
Contributions to soundtracks followed as their moody, passionate vocals and sweeping guitars landed on the soundtracks of Can’t Hardly Wait, Varsity Blues, Permanent Midnight, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, on the cusp of world domination, their label dissolved, leaving the band’s dreams in disarray.
In 2002, the band found themselves on the soundtrack of Spider-Man, opening another chapter for Black Lab – or at least for Durham, who produced the band’s second album, See the Sun, with new guitarist/programmer Andy Ellis. Starting from scratch and taking on every aspect of the production, from recording and mixing (though Tom Lord-Alge mixed half of the record) to album layout and marketing, the band exploited the creative possibilities of being free from a major label.
At the same time, See the Sun represents Durham’s relentless desire to produce the kind of record that will wow listeners worldwide. Using the epic, incandescent riffs and dark yet emotionally uplifting vocals that hooked fans in the first place, See the Sun spices rock-solid guitars with layers of synthesizers. Songs from this era have wormed their way onto the scores of Blade: Trinity, The Covenant, MTV’s Real World, ESPN, “The Days” and “What I Like About You,” among others.
Five years in the making, Black Lab’s third album finds the band returning to the experimental foundation of their debut. Passion Leaves a Trace (2007) bristles with deeply personal details, each carved out of driving rock & roll, lush electronics and pure savage desire. From the majesty of “Mine Again” to the jet-black remorse of “This Night,” these new songs revel in the ecstasy of obsession and the madness of love. Tracks from this self-produced album can already be heard on FX’s promotion for season 6 of “The Shield,” CBS’s “Numb3rs,” “ABC’s “6 Degrees,” as well as the films The Benchwarmers and Lovewrecked.
The band recently attracted media attention through the single-day viral campaign “Bum Rush the Charts” in which their song “Mine Again” was promoted through podcasting and blogging. The song peaked at #11 on the U.S. iTunes rock chart and broke the top 100 in fifteen other countries (#2 in Holland!).
While Black Lab roars down the tracks, Paul Durham continues to pursue a variety of musical endeavors, including a B-sides double-CD (Give Us Sugar), side projects (Stray Palace, Cake or Death), producing (Gringo Star, etc.), commercial scores (McDonalds, Pringles, Discover), and co-writing (Natalie Imbruglia, Rachael Yamagata, Ryan Cabrera). All things Black Lab, including streams and free downloads from new and past albums, photos, videos, history, news and gossip can be found at www.blacklabworld.com. firstname.lastname@example.org