REVIEW: Darwin Deez – S/T

390 darwin deez

It’s okay, just take some deep breaths, you aren’t going to die, that gurgling panicky feeling is just the sensation of your body trying to readjust to the overbearing ironic trendiness of the above man. Unfortunately (Depending on your stance on traditional Jewish music), Darwin Deez’s own tunes don’t follow in his ”trendiest rabbi at the synagogue” image, but instead find themselves between the early exploits of seizure prone mockney Jack Penate (but alot better, really keep going..) and The Strokes. Not entirely a bad combination, but it is this middle ground where the albums flaws can become apparent.

Opener and single ”Constellations” is a oxymoronic slice of depressing sunshine pop, complete with Deez’s trademark jangly guitar, hand claps, and jive synthesized pops. One of the most appealing aspects is undoubtedly Darwin’s vocals, with his delivery reminiscent of the drawl, relaxed croon of Strokes front man Julian Casablancas. Lyrically taking inspiration from nursery rhyme ”Twinkle twinkle little star”, may seem borderline cheesy, but it works, hinting at a knowing calm, collectedness, falling at the right side of pop music simplicity.

The aptly named ”Suicide Song” however takes this same sensibility a little too far, meaning the slightly obnoxious riffs and jarring guitar can really start to grate, resulting in an urge for the skip button before its 2:30 is up. This in itself is a shame as the pay-off is in the closing bars/outro, with its angular spikiness, and emotive bass, hinting at WLAS era We Are Scientists.

This repetition is what plagues not only most of the album, but noticeably on ”The Bomb Song”. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have its merits, the track is genuine, heartfelt and emotional, its just hindered by the fact it doesn’t get to spread its wings until the closing bars once again. Its slowed pace, helps you to appreciate the subtlety of the instrumentation, with the distant reverb and harsh warm tones of the guitars melting together perfectly, accompanied casually by the dull thudding of the electronic drums. But with almost 3 minutes before the song truly (and only briefly) takes off, it can feel slightly laboured.

Latest single ”Radar Detector” sees the loveable hipster hit his stride once again, triumphing at what he seems to do best, upbeat sing along pop. With its fast hand clap, fret scratching and plucky reverb guitar mingling together to form a pop song you could well find your little sister dancing about to, but also more importantly credibility.

Don’t let his appearance fool you, Darwin Deez has genuine talent, heart and passion, it’s just the repetitive sounds and similarities, that make this album read more like a collection of ideas or demos. Going against what most indie purists will tell you, this album is not one that sounds, or should be listened to from start to finish, but a track here and there will be more than enough to convince that there is more behind Darwin Deez than a ”styled by Urban Outfitters” image and a name that sounds like a brand of trainers made by a theorist

7/10

Joe Thresh