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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Darker My Love: "2"

As a musician you should always try to make an album as diverse as possible without sacrificing the style and sound of an album.  In other words, it's okay to have songs with varying pace, themes, etcetera; but artists should always be wary of placing an alt-country song right next to an upbeat dance pop track.  It's okay to dabble in different sounds, just do it on different albums (Lookin' at you, Fountains of Wayne.  I don't forget.).  At the same time, you also want your album to contain enough variety so as not to become stale and repetitive.  Unfortunately, I don't believe Darker My Love got the memo on this idea.

2 is an absolutely awesome album for its first 2 tracks.  "Northern Soul" starts the album off with a bang.  It's psych-rock at its poppiest, with an infectious, distorted guitar riff and equally infectious vocals.  There are some really cool harmonies going on as well; very reminiscent of Secret Machines in some ways.  "Blue Day" picks things up a notch with an actual drum beat and more cool vocals and harmonies.  It does sound a bit like the first song, but that's okay right?  Wrong.
By track three it slowly started to dawn on me that this sounded exactly like the first two.  Track four sounds eerily similar to the three that come before it.  It's not until the fifth song, "White Composition," that the band makes an attempt at mixing things up.  A Beatles-esque pop song, it gets rid of all the fuzzy guitars and replaces them with a acoustic guitars, jazz drums, and a whole lot of reverb.  The first time I listened through 2, it was this song that immediately stood out to me.  That's not just because it's phenomenal, but also because it's literally the only song that doesn't sound like every other song on the album.

That's right, after a quick ray of hope, Darker My Love goes right back to playing loud, distorted, psych-rock for the next six tracks.  Each track features the same phased-out vocals with wet harmonies, the same distorted guitar riffs, and the same loudness.  No thank you.  Honestly, if I hadn't had an obligation to review this album, I probably wouldn't have made it the whole way through.  Never has music this energetic been such a bore!  It's not like the band is without talent either.  On the contrary, they've proven themselves to me to be extremely capable musicians.  But this album is so repetitive and uninteresting, that I can't even give the band the respect (or the typically well-written review) that I think they deserve as musicians.  Hopefully the band can diversify their sound a bit for album number 3.  And maybe they could come up with a more original album title as well.  Just a thought.

Key Tracks:
1. "Blue Day"
2. "White Composition"
3. "Even In Your Lightest Day"

4 out of 10 Stars


PoliticianRock said...

I disagree. The album deserves several listens, and it does reveal itself with time. I reviewed this album not too long ago, and I think the exact opposite as you; the album isn't repetitive. Sure, it's the same style, but in no way is it as dull as the Black Angels, for example. It's the subtleties that make it work. Granted, I'm not about to rush out and buy it, but it's a good album nonetheless. My two cents.


Cale said...

I listened to this album at least 4 times over the last 2 weeks, and each time, the only song that stood out to me was "White Composition." If the remainder of the songs didn't have gaps in between them, I would think I was listening to the same song. Honestly.

This review was incredibly rushed and unprofessional, but I desperately wanted to put this album behind me. I didn't enjoy anything beyond those key tracks.

Rapscallion said...

I'm going to disagree with you as well. During the last three months, this album (along with the debut by Friendly Fires) has been a constant on my playlist. Thoroughly enjoyable quality pop music, and will definitely be in my top five by years end

Anonymous said...

4 listens......and those 4 already-biased listens make you a ready & capable reviewer, huh? I have come to the conclusion that 'reviewers' write-ups are totally meaningless to someone who loves the music made by a band. On the other side, they are also worthless to someone who dislikes an artist. If I read a glowing review of Devendra Banhardt's latest, I am not gonna love him & his music & go buy all his albums. DML, I love their sound, this album is brilliantly played & sang & produced from start to finish, and their lyrics are lovely and meaningful to me. The vocals are simply gorgeous, the entire album works so well for me, I adore it & have listened 30 times, probably. So you see, reviews are, when you really think about it, meaningless.