Jason Darling grew up around Woodstock. Yes, the older Woodstock, not the “mud people” NIN-memorable version. But don’t let that fool you, there’s no retro-hippie vibe here. Just a collection of decent pop-rock numbers like the radio-friendly “Wind” and the tender, roots-based “Always” that features a pretty harmony. Darling seems to make the most of each song, although “Flowers” tends to wilt near the homestretch. A better effort comes along during the slow, mournful “Thief”, despite the rather ordinary lyrical content. Think of a George Harrison C-side and it should become clearer. There’s also a certain hint at early Pink Floyd which becomes readily apparent with a cover of Floyd’s “Fearless”, that takes the song up a notch or two in terms of tempo. It’s a credible rendition though. Meanwhile, “Systems” is a piano-driven pop tune that has a nice hook and is not overtly edgy. Another gem, and maybe the crowning achievement on the album, has to be the very barren “Top of Her Stars”, with its Lanois-like production. It could also be mistaken for something left off of Tom Petty’s She’s the One soundtrack. Unfortunately, Darling lets the air out of the album with a terribly slow and rather aimless “Hold On”.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.