It’s hard to believe that Darwin Deez’s self-titled debut album came out six years ago, but the lo-fi indie heroes are back with a matured, albeit familiar sound for new album Double Down. The same vocal range, guitar riffs and jumpy beats are still there, but lyrically it’s (slightly) less romantic than the first or second record, and there’s an almost bitter edge to songs such as Lover that cement Darwin Deez as the voice of the confused and broken hearted.
What sets Darwin Deez apart from other pop artists is that although the lyrics are, of course, usually about love and relationships, they aren’t the sickeningly saccharine kinds that feature on trailers for the latest romance dramas or John Lewis Christmas ads. Darwin’s been in NME’s Top 10 ‘Cool List’, he’s too smart for that. Listen to tracks such as Melange Mining Co. and it’s apparent that he’s bright and just a little bit messed up, but he uses that to forge wacky songs which ooze personality and have an unusual rough quality about them.
However it’s difficult to identify any musical progression since that debut six years ago and unlike that album there are no standout tracks, because the same sound and rhythm is carried throughout but with different lyrics added over the top. Though singles Kill Your Attitude and Time Machine have all the ingredients to be successful indie tracks, there is a fundamental element missing – and that’s variation.
Double Down is an enjoyable album because Darwin Deez and Songs for Imaginative People are enjoyable albums, and the three are so similar they’re basically a trilogy. Darwin Deez clearly know and are inspired by their own style, and are sticking to it rigorously.