April 11, 2011

Review: Those Darlins :: Screws Get Loose

Smart, abrasive, and catchy as hell, Murfreesboro, Tennessee's Those Darlins' second full-length Screws Get Loose boasts a now almost absurd dynamism in its four-headed songwriting attack with the addition of drummer Linwood Regensburg to the already stellar core of Jessi, Kelley, and Nikki Darlin. The Darlins already trade instruments, vocal duties, and guitar solos on stage and on Screws Get Loose they demonstrate an equally masterful ability to jump genres with their versatile lineup, from punk-flavored power-pop ("Let You Down") to road-tested country ("Boy") and dark early Stones-fueled and tremolo-infused psychedelia ("Mystic Mind").

What's most impressive though about Those Darlins is their ability to seamlessly honor and pair traditional Americana and Nashville-informed instrumentation and song structures with lyrics that are inarguably contemporary and often subversive. “I just wanna be your brother, you just wanna be my boyfriend / I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you, you just wanna stick it in," sings Jessi on "Be Your Bro." On stage during guitar solos, Jessi often hops and pelvic thrusts her way around the stage like a younger more virile Angus Young. As the narrator and voice of "Be Your Bro," she commands the same physical prominence as the unquestionable Alpha character rendering sexuality a wide-open playing field and gender an inconsequential detail left for pronouns. That take-charge don't-fuck-with-me tone proves over the album's eleven songs to be both refreshing and wholly charming.

While the songs on Screws Get Loose are all colored with the boozy and tattered astringency of time spent on the road, the mood is never weary but rather brazen and unrelenting. Those Darlins are a band that's hungry for more, whether it's success or simply kicking ass, drinking beer, and shredding guitar. From the first wail of album opener and title-track "Screws Get Loose," it's clear this is a band that one day may be, if not already, truly great.

Those Darlins - "Screws Get Loose" (from Screws Get Loose)

Those Darlins

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