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Darker My Love - 2

Released on Dangerbird Records, 8/5/08

Darker My Love did not have me at 'hello'. In fact, before I even heard them I took one look at the band name and wrote them off as a neo-gothic electro-pop band pumping out mediocre hopped-up My Bloody Valentine meets Duran Duran numbers. Well let me just say, for the record, that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Darker My Love, I apologize. I am sorry I judged your band by its name. I, of all people, should know better. It wasn’t until I played their sophomore album, 2, about 7 times in a row that I was able to pick up on the genius I have now discovered as Darker My Love.

The Los Angeles-based band’s approach to the modern psychedelic rock movement is simple. They take something that is subversive and eccentric and make it into something accessible and coherent, a lucid, light-filled journey through rock-and-roll as we know it.
It is like being issued an all access pass to Sleep’s Holy Mountain but when you get on the magical ride you discover your mom is sitting next to you toking on a dube.

Some may say this would harsh one’s mellow, but others may say that you have a pretty rad mom. What I mean to get across is this, San Diego’s Earthless -- a psychedelic jam band of very best varietal -- play songs totaling in the 20-minute range with nary a key change nor a rhythmic change up in sight. I happen to think this is an incredible feat. However, I also realize this is more than the majority of people with working ears and preconceived pop-sensibilities can handle.

I believe with the release of 2, that Darker My Love may have bridged the gap between the outer-limits of psych-rock and harmonious roots-rock, with a healthy amount of Brit-pop thrown in for good measure. 2 was produced by Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups, J Dilla), as the follow up to Darker My Love’s critically acclaimed self-titled debt in 2006.

The album opens with three standard pop rock numbers straight from the “Madchester” explosion of the late 80s. It isn’t until the forth track, “Pale Sun”, that the band’s psych influences start to outweigh their pop fallbacks. The track sounds like a cross between The Byrds and The Beatles, the drone of an organ providing a constant backdrop while vocals intertwine with each other, creating a thick vine of melodious and smooth 60s rock with a more modern edge.

The next track, “White Composition” follows suit with Tim Presley’s falsetto sounding at times like Peter Noone, while the keys and guitar summon The Doors Soft Parade album. There are hints of prog in the tracks to come, a dash of post-rock, and certainly more than enough psych-jams and pop breaks to keep the jammiest of jammer and poppiest of hook-lovin’ ear-havin’ listener all happy.

While at times the album does tend to blend a bit, and while the first few tracks seem a bit misleading and/or misplaced, 2 really is an enjoyable listen. Headlining alongside Coldplay? Maybe not, but certainly expect to hear a lot more from these counter-cultural cross-pollinators of the psych-rock pop varietal.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars