Album: Darwin Deez
Producer: Darwin Deez
Label: Lucky Number
Release: May 23, 2011
Rating: 6.2 RockRolls
Following a three month delay, Darwin Deez' self-titled debut album finally made its US release. Formerly only available as an international import, the New York-based indie rockers return home (at least digitally as they are preparing to kick off their tour in Europ this week) to their awaiting fans with a more accesible version of their album. The art rock group plan to make it back to the US themselves in early July.
Originally released in May of 2010, Darwin Deez reached the 61st position on the UK album charts and rose to number 3 on the British indie charts. In true independent fashion, Darwin Deez (originally Darwin Smith) plays on a 4-string electric guitar using a tuning of his own creation to write, arrange, and produce his records. The first single from the album, "Constellations," opens the album on a funky rhythm and peppy percussion which make it a suitable introduction to Darwin Deez. As a relative newcomer, Constellations did not chart on it's initial release and only held moderate success against their second single, "Radar Detector" released the same year. It's a shame, though, as "Constellations" is far more interesting lyrically and musically than the other singles off of the album.
Wrinkle, wrinkle little scarFun chill-out tracks like "Deep Sea Divers," "Bad Day," and "Bed Space" couple wisps of sharp and bright guitar downstrokes on a waving sea of warmly rough vocals. The pop ditty "DNA" is quite the charming brand of nerd hippy music that made Darwin Deez popular and fits snugly into the middle of the track list.
Count the freckles on my arm.
If freckles don't mean anything,
Does anything mean anything?
But when I call you are never home,It is unfortunate that "DNA" was not selected as a single from the release but not unsuspected. "DNA" may seem to be among one of the more typically formulaic pop songs on the record, but "Up in the Clouds" and "Radar Detector" don't stray from that mark very much. Both suffer,however, from an annoying use of repetition of the track title in the chorus that gets old incredibly quickly that one would imagine would cause a loss of interest on radio airplay.
And I am down to six or seven chromosomes.
But you don't care, or understand,
How it feels to be a single double strand.
All these molecules don't make me who I am, you did.
Darwin Deez is fairly short for an album with 10 tracks on it. Weighing in slightly over a half hour (an easy 5 minute of which are little more than Darwin repeating track titles over and over again) some of the fat could have been trimmed from this release to shape it into more of a solid EP than the unfortunately weak album it is. Moments of wit and genius peek out behind a cold mess of repetition and sameness which may have been saved had the album shipped with "Lights On" and "The Coma Song" appended to the end. You'll have to purchase the Australian version of the album to score those tracks, though. Darwin Deez will likely be a success in their own right in the indie world, but will have to bring it a lot harder on future releases to do themselves justice.