The Darts ‘Me.Ow’ (Dirty Water Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Thursday, 21 September 2017 04:40

The Darts artworkAfter releasing two EPS, The Darts are quickly back with a full length debut album that sees the band delivering a killer record with the potential to gain a larger audience while embracing their current fans. It is no secret to those that know me that I was a big fan of Nicole and Christina’s previous band The Love Me Nots, so I go into the album with very high expectations.

 

Lead off track and video ‘The Cat’s Meow’ begins with a hypnotic bass line courtesy of Christina before Michelle (guitar) and Nicole (organ) join her and Rikki (drums). My notes show that I wrote down “dirty garage goodness” on my first few listens and that has not changed. Lyrically, there is a cool hook with Nicole delivering a mix of spoken vocals and powerful singing with her and the band providing a mix of seductive backing vocals. ‘Gonna Make You Love’ continues the fuzzy magic with vocals that swirl under the music and seem to rise in the mix with each subsequent listen. Michelle delivers a cool guitar solo. On some level, this reminds me of early Jesus and Mary Chain with the organ replacing the feedback JAMC has always embraced. This song should be all over alternative and college radio here in the States.

‘Strange Days’ quickens the tempo and rips the Nuggets era sound into the present and laces it with adrenalin. Rikki delivers some great fills on the drums and keeps the chaos from going off the rails.

 

There are hooks buried within the song that implant themselves into the brain, with the organ providing one of the strongest here. ‘Not My Baby’ features a slightly slower strut with Rikki and Christina locking into the groove. Nicole’s organ solo is perfectly placed, and this is the first time where I thought that song could have turned into a Love Me Nots song. It would not have worked as well though as the ladies kill it here.

 

‘Slay Me’ again brings forth the power with a mix by Bob Hoag that is able to deliver a wall of sound when appropriate and all kinds of subtle context when needed. It is apparent that the chemistry in the band is in an awesome place. ‘Get Messy’ is one of my favorites and comes on like a red hot rocker through a 60’s lens while embracing the bounce of Bratmobile. It is impossible to sit still through this one, and I would be extremely disappointed not to hear it in a live setting.  It is to the band’s benefit that I am listening to a download and not the vinyl, just because I would keep playing Side 1 over and over again before even checking out the flipside.

 

 

‘Don’t Freak Me Out’ roars out of the speaker to start the second half of the record with a shouted hook of the title to start it. Rikki pounds the drums into submission here and will likely need an excellent endorsement for drum sticks. Michelle’s riff is simple but effective. The song falters slightly between the previous ‘Get Messy’ and the mighty ‘Generator,’ which just plains rawks. This song gets played frequently during each play of the record. All four ladies put on a clinic of what makes music so special here.

 

There is no let up with ‘I Made a Wish’ establishing a straight forward rock beat and an attitude infected vocal from Nicole in the verse and a cool twist by the ladies in the chorus that separates this song from everything else on the album. It takes a conscious effort to type and not jump around the room. ‘Caught in the Devil’s Game’ features a slightly extended intro with some cool guitar work by Michelle before Rikki and Christina lock into another killer groove accentuated with Nicole’s organ work. There is a lot to take in with this song, which takes it from cool to very cool with multiple listens. One of the other bands that has come to mind at times while listening to this record is the Makers (who released some great stuff in the 90’s). The flipside of this record continues the greatness of side one. The band lowers the volume for ‘You’ll Bring Me Flowers’ but takes the song in an unexpected twist as the chorus plays tricks on the mind by going in a different direction. A cover of ‘Batteries’ by The Trashwomen, presented in appropriate lo-fi style, closes the record.

 

When the album concludes, each time I take a breath and want to start it all over again. I have enjoyed the Darts previous two albums, but they did not have the magic this album does. I am sure some of that could be those emotions that come from a band I loved ending and a new one forming as I will be revisiting those EP’s with increased frequency now too. This album has grabbed hold of my soul and may be the album that monopolizes my listening for the last quarter of the year to compete for Album of the Year consideration.

 

‘Me.Ow’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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