Darwin Deez - 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart

by Brian Thompson Rating:5 Release Date:2018-08-31
Darwin Deez - 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart
Darwin Deez - 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart

New Yorker by way of North Carolina Darwin Deez couldn’t have chosen a better time to start a career as an indie rocker. With zippy, eccentric singles like “Constellations” and “Radar Detector,” he quickly found an audience, tapping into the explosion of youthful vigor and electronic flair within the genre. However, as he reaches the decade mark of his career and with it the release of his fourth album, it would appear that he’s a performer with virtually no potential for growth. 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart is a portrait of a career that is destined to remain in an unbroken artistic loop.

Although Darwin Deez prides himself on his acerbic observations and cutesy turns of phrase, listeners are well accustomed to his whimsical schtick by now. He continues to make the same tired comparisons between romantic toils and space exploration (“I'm orbiting your waist throughout the day / So maybe love is orbital decay / My heart's a flame with atmospheric drag / As I'm an astronaut about to plant my flag,” he laments on lead single “The World’s Best Kisser.”). The quirkiness factor has a definite expiration date, and it’s passed long before album number four. Even in expressing his deepest vulnerabilities, he’s repeating himself. These twee tracks feel like relics to a forgotten corner of indie rock past.

For better and for worse, 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart undoubtedly strives for more polished arrangements and more sonic diversity than you might expect. The record is packed with ambient electroscapes (“All My Friends,” “Drive Around”) and peppy pop hummers (“Queen of Spades,” “Say It First”), yet none of it is overly memorable. It’s pleasant enough in the moment, but once listeners put it away, they will be struggling to pull out a single lyric or riff from their wilting recollection of the album. It’s refreshing to see Darwin Deez attempting to expand his established sound, no matter how slight, however, it’s as if absolutely no passion went into doing so.

Each album since his 2010 self-titled debut – 2013’s Songs for Imaginative People, 2015’s Double Down, and now 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart – has felt like a carbon copy of its predecessor, retaining a flicker of the original enthusiasm, but ultimately becoming a monotonous retread of familiar thematic and aesthetic territory. The paradox of Darwin Deez is that he is simultaneously clinging to the same lazy formula and giving off the air of a performer who is trying way too hard. There is a warmth his kooky earnestness, but it wears off long before the album reaches its conclusion.

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