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Darlings

Warma

(Famous Class; US: 15 Mar 2011; UK: Import)

No one can accuse Darlings of false advertising. The band’s new EP, Warma, may be ragged in spots but, as the band’s name implies, this stuff is undeniably sweet. The melodies are tight, timeless without being reductive, and charged with a ramshackle energy. Front man Peter Rynsky and guitarist Maura Lynch sing well together, crafting basic harmonies that, while they may not be the most distinct you’ll hear, have a subtle but resonant emotion to them, even on the simple declaration of, say, “I Don’t Wanna Hang Out Tonight”. The EP works best when they push their sweet power-pop into edgier terrain. Opener “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is the crunchiest number, demonstrating more of the band’s garage-rock side than its twee harmonies, while “Big Girl Now”, which is the Warma‘s standout track, uses layers of squalling feedback to add a new depth to the straight-ahead sound. Darlings may not totally separate from the power-pop pack on Warma, but it delivers five solid songs, building once again on the group’s young-band energy and potential.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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