October 29, 2009

Week 8 - Darling New Neighbors - Rocket

This is Week 8 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project. Follow the link to see weeks 1-7 and learn about the project. - Sean Claes



Darling New Neighbors

When the hand-crafted packaging of Darling New Neighbors latest CD, Rocket hit my hands I thought it looked pretty neat, but it sent me to the same road I’ve been down lately... bands who have great looking CD packaging and a sub-par sound. So I was a little pensive when I popped the CD into the player. Thank you, Darling New Neighbors, for busting down that stereotype.

The eleven-track forty-one minute album is full of some great indie-rock that isn’t afraid to utilize an accordion or violin to supplement the guitar/bass/drums of this three-piece. By all means this could be categorized as art-rock. The handmade CD packaging is not misleading. This is a total DIY band with a unique sound.

Now, I’d be the first to tell you and (you’ve probably gathered this from reading above) that I’m not the biggest fan of art rock. There’s an exception for every rule. Rocket is the exception. Yes, it took a few songs to settle in and get used to the effortless-sounding Chrissie Hynde vocal stylings of lead vocalist Elizabeth Jackson, but once I did I was enamored by it.

The tracks are pretty diverse. You’ve got the outright sex-soaked rocker “Take It.” The could-be theme song for a Drew Barrymore movie “Boys in Cars.” Even a song written for a dog belonging to an addict in “Sydney.” The radio-friendly “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is short and sweet. “Gasonline” is a fantastic track that compares love to the fuel... and not really in the best light. Then there’s the Buddy Holly-esque sound of “Stars.” All unique and yet somehow they all fit together.

My favorite track on Rocket has got to be “Tango.” You really need to go to their MySpace page - http://www.myspace.com/darlingnewneighbors right now and listen to this one. Musically, it’s a sexy sounding Spanish ditty. Lyrically, it’s a stalker-meets-self-mutilation-meets-serial-killer... um... love song. Example? Well.. here’s a lyric: “I’d gladly run over all of your exes / and anyone at all attractive / if it narrowed the odds even slightly / that you’d take my hand.”

The hauntingly beautiful “Indian Mounds” plays like a history lesson meets The Doors’ “The End.” I don’t know what to make of it but I can’t help but be moved by the emotions. I could listen to this song over and over.

Darling New Neighbors is: Jackson (vocals/violin/accordion/bass), Amy Moreland (guitar/vocals/bass), and Karl Lundin (drums/vocals). Their next Austin gig is November 11 @ Lambert’s. It’s worth your while to catch them live. Find out more about them at http://darlingnewneighbors.com/.

Rocket was released nationally in mid-October. If you're in Austin,, you can pick it up at Waterloo Records, and if you can't wait to see it in national chains... pick up your copy today at CD Baby.



This is Week 8 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project. Follow the link to see weeks 1-7 and learn about the project. - Sean Claes

1 comment:

ej said...

wow, great review, thanks much, sean!
-from elizabeth, a darling neighbor