What happens when Darwin Deez are left alone

Darwin Deez - 10 SongsNew York is the metropolis home of many great indie bands, but none quite as electronically quirky as Darwin Deez. Weekly open-mic nights at the Sidewalk Café in New York’s East Village is where songwriting ignited the imaginations of Deez lead singer, Darwin Smith. What followed was the donning of a headband and the fusion of indie guitar pop with electric percussion via a delirious array of instrumentation that will always leave the band unable to dine at any mainstream restaurant (especially the one in Manhattan owned by The Strokes).  That’s not to say they haven’t been successful; but as yet, the band are still to surpass the success of 2010’s “Radar Detector”.

As you can imagine from the album title, lyrically 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart deals with emotional loss and the fragile tiptoes of bitterness in the wake of two people walking away, confused by the breakdown of their once tender communication: “She doesn’t play to win, she plays to make you lose again, her heart of hearts, is made of only broken parts, she is the queen of spades.” Unfortunately, that's where the themes end, as the sound behind 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart is varied at best.

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Initially, the album reminisces on "The World's Best Kisser" acapella style, but this is Darwin Deez, so inevitably words wobble through a vocal harmonizer similar to that used by Bon Iver. It’s a soulful start before interesting electronic beats dictate another direction. Elsewhere things get dirty and grunge-led on "Anna-Marie" as guitars amalgamate in the ever-present experimental layers of electronic noise, and "Queen of Spades" sees the album simmer down to allow Smith to give you a piece of his heartbroken mind.

In contrast again, stand-out tracks like "Getaway" and "Drive Around" sound effortlessly brilliant as the balance of musical textures become less chaotic, reuniting the chief of Darwin Deez with his guitar for some meaty hooks. There's also falsetto tones from Smith as well as first-time appearances from the piano and trumpet; which champion his defiant attitude to constantly evolve and move forward.

We live in a modern age where modern sounds and musical gadgets can be explored and sprinkled over songs, but where do you draw the line? What works and what doesn't will always be up for musical debate, and it's likely Darwin Deez will continue to spearhead descent. They've always been an awkward band to get your head around and like previous efforts, you have to grow into 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart to really appreciate their craft.

Release: 31st August 2018, Lucky Number Music

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