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Album Review: Darwin Deez - Double Down

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★★

We often find insight in the strangest of places. Some may claim that a crisp has the face of Jesus and it lead to an epiphany, others dream of - I don’t know, a goldfish - and somehow it has to represent something.

Though how about having a change of heart whilst listening to a Darwin Deez album?

Frontman Darwin Smith, indie/pop groover, has never been known to take himself too seriously. Having recorded, performed, mixed and mastered the entirety of third album Double Down with a DIY approach, there’s fun, there’s experimenting, there’s a message and there’s a small bit of weirdness.

A combination of delicate crooning of confessional lyrics, and the poppy explosion of a vibrant persona each track explodes with energy. Instrumental breaks and encouragement to dance - Darwin Deez are stronger than ever.

Opener ‘Last Cigarette’ is fun loving, about teasing and seduction. Bouncy and woozy, it’s dreamlike.

 

 

Irresistable, sleek pop nugget ‘Kill Your Attitude’ was born to be a crowd pleaser. Delightful riffs are glittered with fun hand claps, punchy beats and spontaneous backing vocals.

 

 

On the flipside ‘Lover’ throws biting lyrics ‘You only care about your hair, to you a mirror is a miracle’ across the room as casual fact. ‘Stop acting so vain’ is demanded in moody vocals.

All while something that can only be described as a sweetheart toy dog, yaps in the background in rhythmic beat.

As a fuzzy, feel good tune of friendship ‘Time Machine’ croons ‘all I want is you’. High notes waver offering a peek of innocence and vulnerability.

It’s like in the movies when a sweet little love note is passed under the school desk. The bell rings and the girl meets the guy by the tree to be serenaded in lemon drops. Just with a techno melody mid-way.

 

 

Then there’s the darker side. Triple ‘Bag of Tricks’, ‘Rated R’ and ‘The Missing I Wanna Do’ combine references to sneaking in to movie theatres to watch Fight Club, and the ushered whispers of nudity and dirty words.

Approached face on, Darwin’s vocals are easily distinguishable, poignant and bold, always unafraid.

As a 15-year-old boy, he offers wisdom through lyrical allegories. Concerns about health and prostitution come to light, a gentle prod to look in the mirror, to have a think. Contrasting the qualms and grittiness of coming of age with dancing melody and athemic beats.

‘Who cares about nightmares, anyway?’

The section is raw and honest, though doesn't slow or simmer for a second. It keeps the pace of growing up.

There’s bright optimism throughout ‘Right When It Rains’, sing-a-long chants declare ‘if lightning strikes, I’m ready for it’. Fast paced, and alive with energy.

A vibrant riff sounds exotic on ‘Melange Mining Co.’ encasing melodious, sugared rhythm. Though somehow it seems tender, it swoons like a found again letter.

As a whole, ‘Double Down’ may not be anything new - on first listen it may go in one ear and out of the other. It’s awkward in places, maybe a little cheesy too.

Though, there are lessons between the lines and there’s a knack to its glorious irresistible ways. Without taking itself too seriously, it is easy listening and easy to fall in to.

Whoever was in mind as this album was written, I just hope they’ve kissed and made up.

‘Double Down’ is released 18th September via Lucky Number.

Catch Darwin Deez on tour:

17 July – Truck Festival, UK
18 July – Benicassim Festival, Spain
19 July – MELT Festival, Germany
21 July – Poolbar, Feldkirch, Austria
23 July – Village Underground, London, UK
24 July – Secret Garden Party Festival, UK
20 August – Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
21 August – Dockville, Hamburg, Germany
22 August – Frequency, St Polten, Austria
12 October –Thekla, Bristol, UK
13 October – Sound Control, Manchester, UK
14 October – Workman’s Club, Dublin, Ireland
15 October – Limelight 2, Belfast, UK
17 October – Leadmill, Sheffield, UK
18 October – Electric Circus, Edinburgh, UK
19 October – The Duchess, York, UK
20 October – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, UK
21 October – The Rainbow, Birmingham, UK
22 October – Concorde 2, Brighton, UK
23 October – Scholar, Leicester, UK
25 October – Bodega, Nottingham, UK
26 October – O2 Academy 2, Oxford, UK




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