From the offset there was a comparison of a lot of Americana and murder ballad influences at work throughout the whole performance from our closing act this evening. All of those blues elements were contained in a showing that underlined them as an act with something very different going for them. This heavy sound became rather direct on ‘Crooked Man’ and it channelled the more refined aspects through but also covered a lot of ground in the process. Spry jazz touches were another feature from the band and on ‘Circlin’ The Drain’ this is an influential showing. It commands a sultry sense of distinction. When this meets the gravelly cut of the vocals you are sold. The influence of Nick Cave can’t go unsaid if you are to truly write about this band. Here his influence casts a shadow over the murder ballad renditions of ‘It’s All Over’ and it is a song steeped in the same school of song writing. Here this gives the dark overtures substance and they meet well with the obtuse sound it all gives off. This serves the morose subject matter extremely well as it gives it added context.
‘She Sings’ is a song about a girl and here his voice captures the isolation. It allows the stoic sentiment fall into place by design. As such there is an overreached feel to how the arrangement sounds and the ambient figurations neatly drag through here. They hold it back rather well and this is a heavier touch which commands your attention as it holds everything together. The sound diversifies with a strong polka notation cutting across on ‘Last Lone Woman’. What they command in the collective sense adds a potent kick to how it sounds. It lights up and the timings, alongside the manner in which the piano stands out, keep the descript outline running neatly. Add in the animation of the stage show with ‘Trumpet Man’ and things are interesting. The sound retains a sleighted pique which gives the kitsch factor further relevance. The distinction in the sullen attributes also work in a way that sees the performance revel in the darkness.
While the sound of ‘Great A Terrible End’ is a scatty and jittery working, it also adds a stylish cut. The heft formed in the narrowed aspects gives it a defined focus which meets up with the showmanship. Both aspects come to play their own parts and for the second time tonight we saw a megaphone on stage. This was an effort that put a lot into the showmanship and in some ways it paid off and in others not so. There is a distal touch to be noted throughout a lot of their songs. With ‘Jack’s Carnival’ this is carefully distributed and it gives of a low brow feel. A little bit like Guns ‘N’ Roses ‘Patience’ in certain parts the lyrics unashamedly go dark. This in turn destroys childhood sensibilities unapologetically and in turn favourably works the crowd. An encore was called for and they obliged with ‘Flesh And Fault’. With a thunderous roll from the drums it takes off. The guitar as well gives it a harder backing and the sharpness of the lyrics helps it in equal measure. It is telling in terms of style and what they want to be about as a band, but it also gives you an insight into how they identify as artists when it comes to their music on this one more so than any of the other tracks they played here tonight.
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