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Darker My Love – Alive As You Are

Darker My Love, Alive As You Are

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

QUESTION: Do we really need another psychedelic rock outfit with obvious nods to The Beatles and Oasis? Answer: If they’re as good as Darker My Love then hell yes!

The follow up to the Los Angeles-based band’s breakthrough sophomore album 2, which received across-the-map critical acclaim for its mind-bending neo-psychedelic grooves and hazily anthemic hooks, Alive As You Are is a near faultless collection of songs that revel in their retro vibe and laidback rockin’ tendencies.

As the band’s PR suggests, the 13 songs that make up Alive As You Are are marked by bold songcraft and earthy, intricate arrangements that further illuminate the band’s myriad classic influences.

Stripping away the fuzz and distortion of past records, the band allowed their unfortunate real life experiences to take centre stage with honest songwriting and put a heavy emphasis on personal healing.

The end result displays a warmth that may not always have been present in their songwriting, and which underlines Darker My Love’s growing position among the brightest lights in the long, lysergic history of West Coast psychedelic rock.

Needless to say, the hits fly thick and fast. Backseat is a country-tinged slice of warm psychedelia that seems dedicated to West Coast cruising (with the hood down), while Split Minute is a dream-like ‘60s influenced slice of pop-rock that effortlessly gets your head nodding along in appreciation. If you like Teenage Fanclub or Dinosaur Jr, or The Kinks, this is a song for you.

18th Street Shuffle is a lively psychedelic era Beatles throwback that contains some great organ arrangements interwoven with its funky bass and jangling guitars, while New America sounds like a McCartney-Harrison head-trip with traces of country, as well as a questioning of American policy. It’s deliriously trippy.

Elsewhere, Maple Day Getaway is a vibrant ‘60s pop shuffle that is made for getting people dancing, June Bloom is a shoe-gazer of delicacy and poise, and Dear Author a rousing psych-rock anthem that contains some of the best guitar riffing on the LP and a seriously Gallagher-esque approach to vocal delivery. It’s arguably the album’s stand-out track, with shades of Zeppelin as well.

But that’s not all, for A Lovely Game is another instant favourite that trades a kick-ass backbeat with some more fine guitar work, and Cry On Me Woman ends things on a low-key, supremely satisfying comedown note that really underlines the newfound intimacy to be found in their song-writing.

Darker My Love have therefore created another great album and one that really shouldn’t be allowed to pass you by.

Download picks: Split Minute, Dear Author, 18th Street Shuffle, New America, A Lovely Game

Track listing:

  1. Backseat
  2. Split Minute
  3. 18th Street Shuffle
  4. New America
  5. Rain Party
  6. Maple Day Getaway
  7. Trail The Line
  8. June Bloom
  9. Dear Author
  10. A Lovely Game
  11. Cry On Me Woman