Saturday, October 2, 2010


Lights That Last Forever

Chicago's Darling have continued to evolve, re-shaping their sound with each album. On their new album, Lights That Last Forever, they've added a variety of styles - funk, garage rock and early nineties college rock. Throughout two EP's (2005's Ground is Sound, 2009's Burned by the Sun) Darling has shifted, as if wholly trying new things out, from blending moody and soft-assault ambiance to songs that are more catchy, more radio friendly, than before. There's sweet melancholy to Jeff Schneider's vocals, sounding like a teenage David Byrne. Lights That Last Forever shakes up the band's old ideas, giving them more heft, more color.

Lights really sounds like a '90's album, its strangely catchy, obtuse and more playful. The proof is the introspection of the songs, the album lending itself to the autumn season versus the rejuvenation of spring. "Move In Move On" makes no bones about getting down, the bass noticeably at the forefront. Bass notes noodle and swirl, the guitar jangly and rusty. "In the Ground" blisters like a Superchunk number, aggressive and fun. Lights doesn't stay settled, from the trippy bass on "Bad Dream" whose quick chorus and closing moments is rich with fractured guitar playing, first mimicking erratic rainfall then the world falling apart, to the travelling bounce of "Bicycle Ride" which gleefully sounds as if it should be sang with cast of The Muppet Show.

Darling sounds less romantic, slightly less idyllic about it in the music than before. The band now ebbs closer to an indie version of Matthew Sweet trying to be ELO. That's not meant as derision, Darling play songs simply that just happen to sound large.

-Brian Tucker

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