Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew draws delightful results on solo LP
Bucking the trend of indie frontmen 'going solo' and turning up a turd. Mr Drew has hooked into the more romantic aspects of his inner pervert for 'Darlings', an album that more than lives up to its title.
Kevin Drew – Darlings (Released via City Slang on the 24th of March)When an album opens with two songs titled 'Body Butter' and 'Good Sex', you'd probably expect to be assaulted by a sleaze fest so torrid it would make Rihanna sound like the Mamas and the Papas. This is coming from the man who managed to write a genuine, tear-inducingly beautiful song about blow jobs though. Kevin Drew has released just one solo album in the decade since his Canadian collective 'Broken Social Scene' released their defining album 'You Forgot it in People'. 'Spirit If' was a charming, if rather muted affair that felt as if it were trying too hard to please, 'Darlings' on the other hand sounds almost completely effortless, and is all the better for it. Whilst most BSS records run in excess of 60 minutes and include the kind of arrangements that even Arcade Fire would balk at, 'Darlings' (co-produced by Drew and Dave Hamelin) is all wispy guitars, sparse electronically treated drums and warm synths. It somehow still manages to sound 'full' though, even in its quieter moments. We open on the ambient sighs and acoustic guitars of 'Body Butter', a charming little ditty that works almost as a cold open into the wonderful 'Good Sex', which is (whisper it) is as good as anything from 'YFIIP'. It inhabits a strange void between 'Tunnel of Love' era Bruce Springsteen and 90's lo-fi indie rock and does so with genuinely emotional aplomb. It's a simple song about simple things but that doesn't dull its impact one iota. It's just a wonderful melody attached to a gorgeous arrangement and a lyric that manages to make pure lust sound effortlessly romantic. It's an old adage but a true one nonetheless; there really is something for everyone here. BSS fans will be thrilled by 'Bullshit Ballad', an insistent indie rocker with a mean streak a mile wide, and for those who can't get enough of loose, quirky melancholy of both 'My God' (“I think I threw up”) and 'You Got Caught' will more than fit the bill. The only song here that feels like an afterthought is mid-album cleanser 'First In Line'. It's not a bad song, but the album could have done without it as it breaks up the pace in an ever-so-slightly jarring way. 'Darlings' is the album I wish 2010's Broken Social Scene release 'Forgiveness Rock Records' could have been. But then BSS has always been about bombast and kitchen sinks and drama, and there's nothing even remotely dramatic about this tenderly understated record. It's a quiet triumph that deserves the attention of your ears, even if the words 'Broken Social Scene' mean absolutely nothing to you.