Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are Those Darlins Still Darling?

I'll always have a soft spot for Those Darlins. Two years ago this week they were the subject of my very first post on this blog. After some hot appearances at SXSW in 2009, there was a smatter of chatter on the blogosphere, and I got swept up in the hype. Why wouldn't I? They had a couple of fantastic songs floating around, and their first album was just about to hit the shelves. I completely bought into their trailer-park sensibilities. Songs like the twangy "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" and "Snaggletooth Mama" had my toes tappin' for a month of Sundays. "Wild One" even made my list of the best songs that year. Lately, though, I felt like I was hoodwinked.

I first realized something could be up when, last fall, they released the 7" "Night Jogger." It was the least cowpunk song the band had ever put out. Then, earlier this spring, their full-length followup, 'Screws Get Loose,' was released. I felt a little screwed. They sure sounded an awful lot like Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and a slew of other retro gal bands that love to turn up the fuzz. Worse, as I went back to the first album, I couldn't help but think the whole fun-lovin' country thing was a gimmick.

I didn't write about all of these feelings of betrayal a month and a half ago when 'Screws Get Loose' was first released. If I didn't have anything good to say about my beloved band, then I wasn't going to say anything at all. Now I'm glad I didn't because the record has really grown on me. So much so, in fact, I'm ready to recommend it. No, they aren't breaking any new ground here. No, they no longer sound like charming Tennessee white trash, but I do think they have captured the indie-girl-group genre just about as well as anybody. The real problem is that the field is crowded. The country bent separated them from the pack a bit. After some time and several listens to 'Screws Get Loose,' now I'm actually looking forward to hearing their next turn. Here are a couple of tunes to prove Those Darlins are, indeed, still darling.

Those Darlins - Screws Get Loose (mp3)

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