Music

Darlingside: Birds Say

Gloriously striking and serene, Birds Say demands attention from the first notes on.


Darlingside

Birds Say

Label: Thirty Tigers
Release Date: 2015-09-18
Amazon
iTunes

Sometimes, one comes across an album so stunningly beautiful, it’s hard to adequately describe it. Words like “serene”, “surreal” and “radiant” come readily to mind, but in reality, they only hint at that shimmering glow that seems to emanate from within.


That would seem to be the case with Darlingside’s debut, a gilded set of songs so breathtaking in its design, it practically steals your breath away. Based in Cambridge Massachusetts, the group’s comprised of four equally adept singers -- Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, and David Senft -- all of whom share a passion for folk and finesse, as evidenced by the way they meld their voices and creativity so seamlessly. The result is a pure, ethereal sound of the highest standard. The tones and textures are sublime, fostering an immediate comparison to Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills and Nash in their most reverent circumstances. Given the intimate collaboration and exquisite interplay, that case could be made. But in truth, the similarities are insignificant. Darlingside is brimming with both originality and ambiguity, making any of the usual role models seem superfluous.

Consequently, Birds Say rests on a pedestal all its own. Gloriously striking and serene, the group demands attention from the first notes on. Opening track “The Ancestor” makes a regal first impression, seemingly to soar in a striking display of absolute iridescence. That sets the stage for the series of spectacular soundscapes that follow, each seemingly richer and more riveting than the rest. The mellow drift purveyed in songs such as “Clay & Cast Iron", “Birds Say”, and “The God of Loss” appear so spectral, they demand full uninterrupted attention. The skittish “Harrison Ford” and an upbeat “Go Back” vary the pace, but in truth, it’s the reverence imbued in each of these songs that creates such a striking impression. Mournful violins, ambient guitars, plucked cello and the sweep of strings all add to the mix, affirming the atmospheric ambiance that permeates every note and nuance. Still, it’s difficult to single out any one song over another, given that the album seems to flow so uniformly, imbuing it with a conceptual feel overall.

As a result, Darlingside set themselves up for special distinction, binding folk and indie rock through a sound uniquely their own. They’ve created breathless anticipation for whatever comes next, while facing the challenge of how they’ll manage to top themselves the next time around. It won’t be easy, but if this first outing is any indication, it will be interesting to hear them try.

8
Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

Memoir 'Rust' Wrestles with the Myth of the American Dream

Eliese Colette Goldbach's memoir, Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit, is the story of one descending into the depths of The American Dream and emerging with flecks of graphite dust on her cheeks, a master's degree in her hands, and a few new friends.

Books

'Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar' (excerpt)

Ravi Shankar was bemused by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and other bands using the sitar in rock music. Enjoy this excerpt of Indian Sun, by Oliver Craske (who worked with Shankar on his 1997 autobiography), courtesy of Hachette Books.

Oliver Craske
Music

The Strokes Phone It In (Again) on 'The New Abnormal'

The Strokes' The New Abnormal is an unabashedly uninspired promotional item for their upcoming world tour.

Music

"I'm an Audience Member, Playing This Music for Us": An Interview With Keller Williams

Veteran musician Keller Williams discusses his special relationship with the Keels, their third album together, Speed, and what he learned from following the Grateful Dead.

Books

Shintaro Kago's 'Dementia 21' Showcases Surrealist Manga

As much as I admire Shintaro Kago's oddness as a writer, his artistic pen is even sharper (but not without problems) as evident in Dementia 21.

Music

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad Proclaim 'Jazz Is Dead!' Long Live Jazz!

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad bring their live collaborative efforts with jazz veterans to recorded life with Jazz Is Dead 001, a taste of more music to come.

Film

"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.

Music

Electropop's CMON Feel the Noise on 'Confusing Mix of Nations'

Pop duo CMON mix and match contemporary and retro influences to craft the dark dance-pop on Confusing Mix of Nations.

Music

'Harmony' Is About As Bill Frisell As a Bill Frisell Recording Can Be

Bill Frisell's debut on Blue Note Records is a gentle recording featuring a few oddball gems, particularly when he digs into the standard repertoire with Petra Haden's voice out front.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 4, James Chance to the Pop Group

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part four with Talking Heads, the Fall, Devo and more.

Music

Raye Zaragoza's "Fight Like a Girl" Shatters the Idea of What Women Can and Can't Do (premiere)

Singer-songwriter and activist Raye Zaragoza's new single, "Fight Like a Girl", is an empowering anthem for intersectional feminism, encouraging resilience amongst all women.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.