Darwin Deez - Songs For Imaginative People - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Darwin Deez - Songs For Imaginative People

by Al Brown Rating:6 Release Date:2013-02-11

It's hard to admit that you've completely missed the mark, but a few months after calling Darwin Deez a big phony while reviewing his debut, I caught him and his band at a festival and realised I'd made a serious misjudgement. Darwin Deez (the band) are genuinely funky dorks who walk the line between serious musicianship and self-aware ridiculousness with admirable charm. If you get the chance to see them, do it - the dancing alone is worth the price of admission.

Anyway I was secretly hoping to make up for that unwarranted hatchet-job by being kinder to this, the second Deez album - a task that started to look difficult this morning when lead single '

(The Editorial Me)' came on the radio. Because 'Free (The Editorial Me)' is a bad song: like one of those jokey tracks Pavement used to sully their albums with, or maybe a particularly lazy Beck out-take (we are over Beck now, right?). Having said that, the outro is quite nice, and showcases a sweet thread of sincerity which runs through the whole album.

Opening track '(800) HUMAN' has a similar blend of brashness and sweetness. The brashness comes from the dubstep-influenced beats and pummelling bass, but the lyrics are empathetic ruminations on "What it's like to be human", which, to Deez's credit, are delivered without the facile insouciance which pervaded the first record. In fact, throughout the album, Deez sings with more confidence and feeling. He might have mixed emotions about the fact that when he pushes it he ends up sounding like Ben Folds, which I share, but overall it's a definite improvement.

Deez's sincere lyrics are generally backed by music which is simple - guitar and drum (machine)-led and syncopated. The constantly fidgeting rhythms work better on some tracks than others. 'Alice' is heartbroken and ever so pretty; 'Redshift' is a G-funk dope-dream that morphs into a lighters-aloft anthem. Prince-like funk workout 'Moonlit' isn't as convincing, although the brief guitar solo is pretty cool. Taken as an honest attempt at an album of skewed but catchy pop-songs, it just about hangs together as a whole, and promises a lot for the future if the next album shows a similar level of improvement.

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