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EP Review: Darlia ‘Candyman’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on April 16, 2014

My response to Darlia’s new EP, Candyman, was instant: Woah, so raw! So fresh!

It’s been a while since I heard something new and guitar-driven, which packed so much punch. The UK-three-piece have just released their first EP, and it’s bangin’.

The title track Candyman starts the EP off with a low, driving garage bass and grungey vocals carrying the melody. The raspy voice and some of the particular harmonies evoked a fair bit of nostalgia, somewhere in between early grunge and early pop-punk. It’s grisly yet refined, tightened but unrestrained. I really like the harmonies, they remind me of Silverchair around Neon Ballroom.

Animal Kingdom has a brighter sound, and it’s lots and lots of fun. It’s refreshing, and there’s some seriously frenetic energy in place here – I really enjoyed this track. Blood Money continues up the rollercoaster, fast and more frantic still. The shape of each track is fairly similar, and it’s nothing we’re unfamiliar with – driving bass and a clearer, mid-volume melody, hooks and a build-up in the bridge which explodes into a loud, distorted, headbang-worthy chorus, and a solo to boot.

We’ve heard it all before – but Darlia are great in that they don’t sound repetitive or overdone, and they certainly don’t sound like a grunge cover band – which so many musicians fall prey to, when they emulate genres of days past. And while the music does evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, it’s much more than an homage, or a revival. It’s too fresh for that.

Queen of Hearts has received some pretty good radio play on triple j, and it’s easy to see why. Super sweet riffs, hook-heavy guitars, bass-heavy verse and stadium singalong chorus make for a great rock song. It’s pretty amazing to think that Darlia have apparently been around for less than a year. I’m so impressed by their sound.

As the title would suggest, Napalm is a manic offering of ska-laden punk with catchy riffs and a blasting chorus. This is the kind of track that’d sound great live, be it at your local club or a stadium. It may be radio-friendly, but there’s certainly a kick to it.

The final track, Choke on Bones is definitely my favourite on the album. The distorted guitars are just so powerful and punchy. The verse is manic, with a ringing bass and a really strong garage-grunge sound. I love the semi-‘call-and-response’ between the vocals and the harmony and the chords. The lyrical mantra, “they choke on those bones, they choke on bones” is probably going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day (but I don’t mind). At a snipped 2 min 50 sec it certainly ends the EP with as much a bang as it began.

Overall, this is a great EP. Darlia have managed to capture elements of grunge, punk and garage-rock, and turn it into something modern, unique, and really strong. Considering they’re still in the teething stages of being a band, it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll be seeing a lot of Darlia in the future.

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