A week ahead of the official release date, Broken Social Scene founding member Kevin Drew has released the entire album on NPR. Fans are most likely swooning and listening to it on repeat, and there is good reason to.
The album opens up with the listener being thrown right into a song, making it feel like there hasn’t been any time since the release of Drew’s first album, Spirit If… in 2007. “Body Butter” is a great way to start off the album, feeling like you’ve just arrived home after a long day and your significant other is ready to pamper you. This song is smooth and relaxing, getting you ready for a fun time, which comes in with “Good Sex”.
The first single released, “Good Sex” gets you into the groove for the entire album. It’s a fun, upbeat jam reminiscent of Broken Social Scene singles “7/4 (Shoreline)” and “Fire-Eye’d Boy”, with rocking guitar riffs and strong drum beats throughout. The next song is “It’s Cool”, which is a funky slow ballad, reflective of a post-coitus chill in bed. Kevin keeps up with his almost fully speak-sing for this song, just bringing the feel of the music a bit down and more calming… for a moment.
Then the album takes the listener outside into the sprawling city with “Mexican After-show Party”. The ambiance of the song compliments Drew’s voice, giving a hollow sound to the overall feel. The listener is then moved outside of a club or concert venue, with the song “You Gotta Feel It”. The drum and guitar sound like they are recorded in a separate room from Kevin and the piano, but builds throughout the song until they are together at the end, like the listener is now, as the next song is called, “First In Line”.
“First In Line” starts off with drums and a cool guitar riff leading the listener into the venue, then the synthesizers come in and slowly, like most Kevin Drew songs, it grows in strength and reach of sound until it implodes to a slow xylophone exit that leads into a mirror song called “Bullshit Ballad”. This is very heavily guitar driven, with an upbeat drum line that keeps it moving along. There is a feeling back to Broken Social Scene again with this song; the amount of instruments makes the listener feel that they are at a BSS show, where Kevin is premiering a new song. Until the sudden end with a noise sounding like a back door closing, taking the listener out of the party or concert and into the streets again, with “My God”
“My God” starts with just a cowbell, guitar chords and Kevin singing in the bottom part of his range. There is a drunkenness to the feel of the song, a bit like stumbling back home after a long night out with friends. There is a swell of synths during the first post chorus, then it dies down and stays consistent throughout the rest of the song. Again, there is a sudden corner turn in Darlings, with “You In Your Were”, with a lot more drums and keyboards than any previous song, and a few times where the instruments come back strong after dying down a bit. There is also a female singer, most likely BSS band member Leslie Feist, accompanying Kevin.
The sound returns to chilling with “You Got Caught”, which sounds like the listener has finally reached home, and has collapsed on a couch or bed with their loved one and talking. The drums really lead this song, with fuzzy guitars building some tension to go along with Kevin backing himself up repeating “You Got Caught!” The album comes to a rocking end, with a fitting title, “And That’s All I Know”. The BSS sound has returned, with a touch of K.C. Accidental in the piano and synthesizers. The vocals sounds a bit strained and raspy, which is a common sound in Kevin Drew’s music.
Darlings is a great addition to the Arts & Crafts anthology of story albums, and is definitely worth the 7-year wait. Kevin Drew has grown and it is very apparent in this collection of songs.
Kevin Drew is supporting the release of Darlings with a small North American tour,
April 3 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom TICKETS
April 7 Halifax, NS Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
April 9 Northampton, MA Calvin Theatre TICKETS
April 10 Tarrytown, NY Tarrytown Music Hall TICKETS
April 11 Portsmouth, NH The Historic Theatre TICKETS
June 7-8 Toronto, ON Field Trip TICKETS
August 9 Squamish, BC Squamish Valley Music Festival TICKETS