The Darling Suns | The Darling Suns
Family Average: 4.25/7
The family found ourselves back in Chicago this week, well in our ear holes that is. The Darling Suns are a Chi-Town based, five piece indie/folk band that graced us with an album under the same name.
You can check out the full album on their bandcamp as you read what we had to say:
Oh my darling suns! Here we have the quintessential band to take on a couple’s camping trip: we start with a comfy ride filled with snacks…which leads to minor arguments over the directions. Follow that up with cold, hostile and confused feelings. Then heartbreak, and the eventual demise of every relationship ever on a “couples’ camping retreat”.
Now while this may sound sad, it is actually a very beautiful thing. Like everyone’s favorite melodramatic indie-drama, this album does its best to rock you into submission. Although there is a bitter feeling, it does not leave you without a glimmer of hope, and the promise to start anew among the pines. Also, the music on the album is pretty good.
I was pretty moody when I first listened to this album, and it suited the day well with its broody lyrics, swelling strings, and twangy guitar. It follows the whole indie-Americana revivalist thing that's been going on for the last few years—very Avett Brothers—so it’s guaranteed to be pretty well received across the board.
Nothing about this is particularly groundbreaking, but it is well done. It's soft and melodic, with those indie-folk vocals that can tremor and create a lull at the same time. There is something really effective and powerful in simplicity, clarity, and well done harmonies, and I think these guys tick those boxes. The songs sort of muddle together as an opus bouncing between complete sadness and peppy joy—the type of music meant to tug at your heartstrings, lull you into a calmed stupor, and lift your spirits all at the same time. Check, check, check.
Indie-folk, I always struggle with this genre. That being said, I enjoyed how polished and mature the vocals and arrangements were here. Right away, songs like “Heart of Gold” stood out to me. It’s evident that the songwriter puts a lot of thought into how to incorporate every instrument and the vocals to create a picture, much like an artist would with paint to canvas.
The middle of this album I thoroughly enjoyed. I even added them to a recent playlist, which is a victory for any indie-folk group if you know me. My only disappointment was the first and last track, probably because they represent what I am not crazy about in the genre. It's not that I don't like ballads or slower moving songs, I just feel they should have a certain level of energy behind them. Overall another good submission.
I’m gonna review this album song by song, in a sort of poem format, here we go:
“Since You’ve Been Gone”
Wow this is beautiful
Words don't always fit into the music, like physically
But love the voice, helping harmonies, music, beautiful.
On my ooown
I like his voice
And what its doing.
Yah, good harmonies
Instrumentals a bit more sloppy here —and by that i mean the guitar its kinda plucky, rakey.
“Wash your blues away”
Kinda switched it up here
I still like though.
“Heart of gold”
Wow big change up
I liked the guitar in the beginning, but the like violins or whatever is layered with it not much, but I guess that's what keeps it them, their genre.
Overall I really liked it. Not the type of music I seek out but I found it beautiful and beautifully done.
We're gonna ignore the fact that the album cover looks like it was made in 2009 Photobucket. I like these guys, they have that Indie Folk sound that I can never seem to get enough of. A lot cleaner than most of the other dudes we review on here and I must say I am appreciating the attention to harmony. They just seem like they all get on nicely. I particularly liked "Heart of Gold" and "Was Your Blues Away". It was simple, yet complex.
Perhaps it was because I was listening to it on a fall day in Jersey City...after a weekend on a (cold as fuck) Pennsylvania camping site. Snuggled up with some hot apple cider, some thick comfy socks, and my boyfriend's sweater. The Darling Suns seemed to compliment it perfectly.
Listening to this album felt like my monitors had five sheets of paper towels taped to them. It sounds oddly flat, lacking dimension. Some people would describe it as listening through a cardboard box (and not in a dusty, good way).
I also felt that the drums just didn't sound right. The snare lacked EQ and proper compression; the BOOM disrupted the album on my monitors (NS10s) and even my headphones (MDR-7506). I mention these names only to point out that I might be failing to listen to the music properly as my monitors are not meant for this genre.
While I have mostly distaste for how the final mix turned out, it should be noted that there is an undeniable energy occurring. Sure, I can be “technically harsh” (whatever that even fucking means) but I cannot deny that the artists here are enjoying the creation process. This transfers into an energy that can be felt within every second of the track. I am not a fan of the genre but I hope that this band creates more music.