Saturday, 29 May 2010

New Music Review - Darko

Todays review is a high-energy punk band with heavier riffs, technical influences and a whole lot of attitude. Their EP is streaming now on their Myspace page, have a listen whilst you read!

Unlike the previous reviewed bands, I've had the pleasure of seeing this band live twice, and they really are exceptional on stage. Live music akin to the kind Darko play is reliant on conveying the right amount of energy on stage, and Darko are no slouch. Definitely one to watch if you see them play close to you.

The integral challenge they face with this EP is conveying the same amount of energy onto a record, where you can't see the band at all. If I'm being completely honest, its really very hard to do this so I'm not overly disappointed that it doesn't convey the same kind of energy, particularly as far as the vocals are concerned. The mix sounds a bit confused and the singer is struggling to get the aggression across; its been recorded on a budget and isn't bad considering, but I've heard other stuff recorded from the same studio and its always underwhelmed me. Not that their engineer is bad at mixing - I tried remixing some stuff for another friends band and couldn't really improve on it that much, which just goes to show that it wasn't really recorded with enough diligence at the source. Its not awful sounding, but it could be better. If you like the 'raw indie underground' sound then I'm sure you'll have no qualms, its just a little niggle of mine because I'm one of those snobby producer-types.

Anyway, enough about the production values. The music is an eclectic mix of California punk with elements of heavier music, Funeral For A Friend springs to mind here. The odd dual-guitar tapping lick sticks out as an attention grabber and is a nice touch which makes it stand out from a crowd of four-chord wonders which populate much of the scene today.

I wouldn't be completely fair if I didn't mention here that this kind of music doesn't always partake in my regular listening. I enjoy it from time to time, particularly when seeing it live, but that's about it. I'm merely pointing this out in case this review comes off as completely negative - Darko certainly are a great band with all the right pieces in the same place, its just that to me I don't hear anything revolutionary or ground breaking. Its an interesting mix of elements, but they're elements that we've heard before, albeit combined in a new way.

If you're into high energy music like Sum 41, Funeral For A Friend (The first two albums, they've kinda teetered off into mediocrity now) and At The Drive in, You'll certainly enjoy this EP. Even if you're not, you'll definitely enjoy them live.

It remains to be seen where Darko go from here, but I can see them keeping a fairly strong foothold in their particular scene as long as they keep on top of their live act and carry on mixing new and interesting ideas with their music. They definitely do what they do very well, and could certainly become the next big players of the punk music scene.

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