OCTOBER 2009: REVIEW by BRADLEY MASON HAMLIN for MYSTERY ISLAND MAGAZINE
Sunday morning is review time on Mystery Island, amongst the chores of dragging out the bodies of various fallen warriors, collecting cans – out of the office – for recycle (that’s Alcoholman’s job), the kids chompin’ on Eggo waffles, and the foreign coffee beans percolating … there is always music, an essential soundtrack that makes it all possible.
I’ve given my share of really bad awful reviews when a band cannot bring joy to the experience of living, but I feel a lot better when I can talk about music I love, and I’m happy to tell you that THOSE DARLINS are quickly becoming one of our favorite bands on Mystery Island.
Based on the great tracks we already heard, we felt prompted to interview the band, but had yet to hear their whole debut album. I would have to say it’s a lot like that moment when your kid steps up to plate on the baseball diamond and you hear that … CRACK!
The album begins with “Red Light Love,” their first single and one of the best “new” songs I’ve heard in a very long time. See our interview [link below] for the animated video!
Raw, honest, and fun as hell. You can tell right away these girls aren’t rolling out fake/altered/auto-tuner vocals. They’re real. They play their own instruments, backed by their drummer Sheriff Lin, and they do it damn well. Again, nothing fake here. It’s the real deal.
Think of how The Monkees were treated, forced by a controlling Don Kirshner to not play on their first two albums, only to totally gain control and create some of the best rock & roll music ever. And now? Now, almost every “pop” act or “young” performer/performers have hired studio bands or pros backing them, and nobody gives a damn while they use auto-tuners and millions of dollars of gizmos – all in order to create crappy records built around one or two radio-friendly songs. AND – if they can’t perform live, doesn’t matter – they can always lip sync!
Okay, I think you get the idea. I like the “reality” of THOSE DARLINS. They have the whole package, including writing their own songs, and that package is wildly presented in full detail on their debut album.
“Wild One,” is pure country girl perfection. If you don’t wanna party with this band while listening to this one, you’re already dead. The B-side of the single (the only song not available on the album – so get out there and buy the single) is a kickass version of Jerry Irby’s honky tonk classic “Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin.”
The next song is “Mama’s Heart,” a lyrical highpoint of a daughter’s warning: “Don’t break my mama’s heart. Don’t make my mama cry. When you break my mama’s heart, you’re also breakin mine.” That’s fuckin hillbilly dynamite.
“Hung Up On Me,” is a rockin break up song – perfect for the “goddamn open road!”
“The Whole Damn Thing,” … it’s about chicken. That’s all I can say.
If you listen to “Who’s That Knockin’ at My Window” you’ll know right here and now, if you own any Dixie Chicks records, you better put this one right beside them. It’s as good as any up-tempo DC tune.
Okay, that’s just the first half of the record … the rest I’ll leave up to you, but I’ll leave you with this one final thought:
The debut album from THOSE DARLINS just may be as important as the debut album from THE RAMONES. I like it that much.
-- Bradley Mason Hamlin, Sunday morning on Mystery Island
Oh yeah, and just for the record, there ain’t a snaggle tooth mama in the bunch.
MYSTERY ISLAND recommends this album if you like: A.P. Carter, The Beatles, The Black Keys, Boss Hog, The Carter Family, Deer Tick, The Dixie Chicks, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Ida Maria, Jerry Irby, Johnny Cash, The Monkees, O’Death, Patsy Cline, The Ramones, Tav Falco, Tom Russell …