I have mixed feelings about all the neo-shoegaze one is likely to hear as an active listener of new music here at the end of the century’s first decade. While inherently attracted to one characteristic feature of such music–the combination of loud washes of noise with compelling melodies–I am inherently put off by another characteristic feature, which is the muddy vocals. To the rescue comes the L.A.-based quintet Darker My Love, which here offers the first without the second, so I’m all over this one.
Thus “Talking Words” is both gigantic-noisy and kind of sweet-poppy at the same time, even as the sweet-poppiness is disguised further by the band’s psychedelic tendencies. (But, truly, many of the original psychedelic bands of the ’60s were nothing but pop bands in disguise as well.) Guitarist Tim Presley, who shares writing and singing duties in the band with bassist Rob Barbato, has the high, slightly strained tones of a classic power pop singer (think John Wicks from the Records, or Chris Stamey from the dBs); despite the underlying growl of guitar, Presley is never anywhere but at the center of the mix, often buoyed by some lovely Beatlesque harmonies.
“Talking Words” is from 2, the band’s (duh) second CD, which was released last summer on Dangerbird Records. The free and legal MP3, however, is new, via NME, in advance of the album’s UK release next month.