Darwin Deez - Darwin Deez - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Darwin Deez - Darwin Deez

by Al Brown Rating:3 Release Date:2010-04-12

I've heard this album's first track on the radio probably four or five times in the last week, and not once - until I came to write this review - did it occur to me that it wasn't Julian Casablancas' new song. Except, now I'm paying proper attention to it, I realise it's a cheap facsimile. Casablancas, for all his faults, is a better songwriter than this. It's basically hippy claptrap: the lyric "If freckles don't mean anything/ Does anything mean anything?" would be utter bollocks even if it wasn't surrounded by similarly ridiculous pronouncements, but it is, and it's rubbish. Of course the fact it's sung in that world-weary Strokesian slur means it all comes across as semi-ironic but so fucking what?

There's alot I like about this album but it's generally dry technical stuff so I don't expect anyone to care. I like the general striving for some kind of pop purity; the utter minimalism of the instrumentation; the uniformly simplistic melodies; the bright guitar sound. But even as I'm listing these things I'm bored by the act and also the fact the album I'm listening to is so boring. It's too clean, too minimal. More importantly Deez remains an absolute master of writing meaningless lyrics and singing them in an uninterested way. This, combined with lack of variation in rhythm and tempo is what does for most of these songs.

There are semi-exceptions: 'DNA's punchy chorus lifts it above the others, but it would still sound better if performed by someone with a little more passion (i.e. absolutely anyone in the world). A few tracks in the limited palette is already wearing thin: the drum machine gives the whole thing a lifeless feel, but the insistence on using the same guitar tone on each song seems especially perverse.

The whole thing did make me wonder: are people already nostalgic for 2001? Will they buy into this just because it's the kind of minimal New York guitar pop that soundtracked a time when we were younger and happier? Or maybe people have already forgotten 2001 and this stuff sounds fresh again? Could the good folk who compile 6Music's playlists write me an essay on why their station is getting canned including a section titled "Because we put shite like Darwin Deez on heavy rotation"?

Alistair Brown

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I find myself agreeing with this review while still liking this album. It is Strokes Lite but it reminds me of summer. He needs to sort that 'tache out though.

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