Kevin Drew: Darlings (Arts & Crafts) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Kevin Drew

Darlings

Arts & Crafts

May 14, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Kevin Drew has always operated as the leader of the pack, governing a large group of friends he also called bandmates for the past decade. His band, Broken Social Scene, cultivated a following that developed beyond rabid fandom into something more like a relationship with the Toronto collective. Their sound was affectionate yet triumphant, with songs literally and figuratively carrying an anthem status. Drew commanded an audience as much as he gave a grandiose hug with every song, and even on the quasi-solo project, 2007's Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew: Spirit If..., Drew continued to bear the horn-tooting, violin-swelling, and chest-pumping choruses that could be found at his most famous group's heart.

Darlings, in contrast then, is Drew's true debut as a solo artist. He is almost entirely detached from his former project, save for a handful of members who serve as his more manageably-sized band. And instead of bombastic songs, we have a set of mid-tempo bedroom melodies. "Get the body butter, baby/Let's go party alone," he sings on the opening track, "Body Butter." Now that the amiable frontman has stepped out on his own, his words have truly elevated to a new level of personal with some of his most conscientious lyrics to date, while maintaining a vagueness to them that feels grand.

Here, shadowy synths are more present in tracks "You Gotta Feel It" and album highlight "You In Your Were," featuring backing vocals by BSS alumna Leslie Feist. At Darlings' raw core are the aforementioned tracks where textures and lyrical repetition synthesize into something just as potent as Broken Social Scene's best work, 2002's outstanding You Forgot It In People. At its most monotonous, though, the album churns out tracks that sound like cutting-room scraps from those sessions such as the more agile "Lover's Spit" update, "Good Sex" and the droning "Mexican Aftershow Party." But even with dusted-up cuts, Darlings nonetheless highlights Drew's divine ability to craft an eloquent ballad all by himself. (www.kevindrewmusic.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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