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Darla Farmer

Rewiring the Electric Forest

(Paper Garden; US: 4 Mar 2008; UK: Available as import)

Review [6.May.2009]

Darla Farmer picks up where the Squirrel Nut Zippers left off. But unfortunately, this band and their collection of songs don’t quite jibe as smoothly, particularly the swinging, jazzy opener “The Quotient”—which sounds more like a bad Violent Femmes or They Might Be Giants cover than anything else. “History” fares better because of its oomph, sounding like an Appalachian-tinged homage to No Doubt. The band also seems to limp through “Mechanical Thoughts” as if they’re on auto-pilot. It’s a decent song but there’s so much going on here that the vocals (which later shriek) are fighting for space among guitars, drums, horns and piano. Darla Farmer also attempt to make the tempo-change part of most of the material, but seems to fall flat on their collective faces with “The Strangler Fig”, a tune that sounds better for some crappy musical than a concert stage. The record is consistently confusing and clamoring. There are few saving graces here, but the somewhat happy-go-lucky “The Cow That Drank Too Much” might placate a few who have braved the album this long. The big highlight, aside from the chipper, bouncy “Tommy Bones”, is the somber, tender “Tree on a Hill” which resembles Cat Power.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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6 May 2009
Fair album but nothing to get excited about.
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