The San Diego–based band The Black Heart Procession began as a side project of Three Mile Pilot guitarist/vocalist Pall Jenkins and pianist Tobias Nathaniel back in 1998, but after the band signed to the Touch and Go label for their second, appropriately titled album, 2, their underground popularity surged and it became evident that BHP was more than just a side project. Their first three albums forged their way along an ominous path through desolate and lonely nights. Jenkins's entrancing singing saw sounded like the howls of ghosts, and his grief-stricken, melancholy lyrics about doomed love and isolation were a fitting complement to Nathaniel's sorrowful Nick Cave-esque piano playing and warbling keyboard treatments. Then in 2002, after bringing in drummer Joe Plummer to play on the murder-mystery-themed Amore del Tropico, the band became a bit more upbeat, even dabbling a bit in loungy Tropicalia. Past and present collide in the most extraordinary fashion on The Spell, their latest and most listener-friendly release to date. While the lyrics are still steeped in love and abandonment, the addition of The Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle on bass, along with violinist Matt Resovich, enhances the beat-stomping, body-swaying, heart-tugging musical journey. Be prepared to fall in love all over again.