These days, if any band are touted as ‘the next White Lies’ or described with the usual ‘channeling the spirit of Ian Curtis’ hyperbole, alarm bells tend to ring – and for good reason. For every band like Editors or White Lies who get it right, there are far too many who fall short and just end up sounding like cynical bandwagon jumpers, quickly reaching for the synths in a bid to get noticed.
The Darlingtons, though, seem to be made of more substantial stuff – and on the evidence of this EP, they have the potential to develop into a band to rival the likes of Editors and White Lies in the future. This is probably because, unlike many of their peers, The Darlingtons draw their influences from classic late 80’s/early 90’s indie bands like Echo And The Bunneymen rather than desperately grasp at current trends.
Their dedication to making ‘proper’, heartfelt music is evident as soon as the EP’s first song, ‘Sirens & Flashing Lights’ kicks off with strong but melodic guitars and solid percussion. It’s immediately clear where the Joy Division similarities have come from as soon as singer Kiran Roy’s melancholic but magnetic vocals enter the fray. Even the opening line is dripping with Ian Curtis’ sense of poetry and general depression: ‘Landscapes change / But through the mist it’s all the same’.
Where Joy Division concentrated on creating bleak electro soundscapes to frame Curtis’ vocals, though, The Darlingtons tend to favour powerful guitars and melodic hooks – which creates a strong yet ethereal presence reminiscent of more contemporary bands like The National.
After the strong burst of ‘Sirens & Flashing Lights’, ‘Winter’ shows off The Darlingtons softer and more delicate side, with its fragile, rippling guitars mixing with anthemic vocals to recreate the distinctive and totally engaging sound White Lies managed with their first album. It’s a song that demands repeat listens and centres on a brilliant hook of a chorus, with Roy’s vocals again stealing the show: “Seasons change so slowly / Winter came too fast / Your attempts to console me / Has made this winter last / Snow falls like dust again / While I sit through this hurricane”. It’s both heart-meltingly sincere and fist-pumpingly anthemic, marking out The Darlingtons as definitely a band too watch.
The final song on New Independent, ‘It Hangs’, slightly lets the side down after the relative highs of ‘Sirens & Flashing Lights’ and ‘Winter’. It starts at a plodding pace and doesn’t really open up enough or reveal any surprises to capture the imagination – but is still a solid enough song which has its moments.
The Darlingtons may not yet be the finished article, but by signing onto a indie label in Ordered Records, they will have the freedom to develop naturally and hopefully create a debut album worthy of our praise!
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