You know when you go to a concert and don’t know who the opening band is, but are completely blown away by their awesomeness? That’s what happened when I saw The Darlings, who opened for Face To Face and Strung Out earlier this year. I knew right then and there that this was a band that I needed to hear more of, and that everyone else should know as well.
In this day and age of Pro Tools and produced-to-perfection albums, some bands end up sounding better on their studio album than they could ever hope to sound live. It has come to the point where it is almost surprising to find a band that sounds amazing live, because every band has the capacity to sound amazing on their album. The Darlings, on the other hand, have that certain magic when performing live, proving that their first full-length album, “The New Escape,” is not a product of Pro Tools but rather a reflection of the great musicians that make up The Darlings.
Blending the melody of rock and the speed of punk rock, The Darlings have a sound that channels punk staples such as Street Dogs and The Bouncing Souls. And I know, every band sounds like it has been influenced by countless other bands, but what sets The Darlings apart from many of these other bands is that they can draw from their influences, but avoid sounding like a direct imitation.
While some of the faster tracks like “Where Do We Go” and “Take Me Back” have a very melodic punk sound, these tracks are balanced out by tracks like “The Aggressor” and “American Dream,” which are much faster, less upbeat tracks. That’s really where The Darlings set themselves apart from other bands- each track on the album is distinct, proving that a band can have many influences, and does not need to be tied down to one sound in particular.
With the bluesy-country tinged track “Head Hunter” and the anthemic closing track, “Let’s Roll,” The Darlings manage to craft an album that will appeal to many different people, and will not get boring. It’s so rare to find a band that manages to sound this good and blend so many different styles, but The Darlings make it seem easy. If you have the chance, check them out live. If not, the album is a pretty close replica of what you can expect from the band live.