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The Darlings is a very popular band name, currently there are three musical acts using the name (It was also the name of a fictional country group on The Andy Griffith Show from 1963 until 1966). This review is for the Redondo Beach, California band called The Darlings; they formed in 2005 and were the winners of the 13th annual Ernie Ball Battle of the bands in 2009.
When I first started listening to “The New Escape” I was confused. I had it on my on my iPod and figured that I must have cued up the wrong album. I checked my pod and found that it was actually playing The Darlings, now I was somewhat disappointed. The first couple of songs that played were not really what I thought I would be hearing from a punk rock album (I was listening to it on shuffle). There were obvious influences from bands like Social Distortion and Tiger Army (they actually look a little like a younger version of Social Distortion) but to me it felt more like I was listening to an alternative band from the mid nineties, which is not necessarily a bad thing just not what I expected. After I got over my initial disappointment and gave the group a proper listen, I found this to be a pretty damn good album.
“The New Escape” can almost be broken down into three types of songs. There are several that have a more alternative feel to them, almost like a harder version of The Airborne Toxic Event. “These Wings”, “Untitled” and “Someone Else at The Wheel” fit into that category.
There are some acoustic tracks. “Head Hunter” and “The Hard Goodbye” both sound a little bit like that one country song towards the end of all Tiger Army ablums and “Let’s Roll” feels like it may have been influenced by Against Me!
The others fit (sometimes loosely) into the category of punk rock. My favorites of those are “Hypnotize”, the albums opener, it also has a Tiger Army sound complete with a heavy bass line and slightly distorted vocal and “Take Me Back”, this one has a Gaslight Anthem feel, but with less Bruce Springsteen influence.
As I said, this is a good album and I recommend it to fans of any of the other bands that I mentioned in the review as well as to fans of mid to late 90’s punk. I can’t say this release has something for everyone, but it does have something for most.
At the time of this review, the album is NOT available on iTunes, although some of their earlier releases are. So if this is something that you’re interested in, go to the bands myspace to hear a few of the songs and to get info on how to buy the album.