Darwin Deez: Double Down (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Darwin Deez: Double Down

(Lucky Number)

Safe third album with glimpses of the pop perfection that marked their debut

On Songs for Imaginative People, Darwin Deez took risks, eschewing the simple structures of the fantastic Darwin Deez, with mixed results. If anything, its successor Double Down suffers from exactly the opposite condition. It feels safe, yet doesn’t deliver the same pop perfection that marked their 2010 eponymous debut.

That’s not to say there aren’t glimpses. ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Kill Your Attitude’ (both earmarked as singles) are brilliantly crafted and layered, showing off front man Deez’ guitar playing at its inventive and clipped best, aided by an expanded tonal range, while the stadium-rock drums of ‘Rated R’ are a pleasing departure from the drum machine beats that have become something of a trademark.

Lyrically, the album covers familiar territory – predominantly ruminations on relationships past and present. Still in evidence are the extended metaphors that marked earlier work, with ‘Last Cigarette’ comparing one relationship to smoking cessation, but it’s not until the penultimate tune, ‘Right When it Rains’, that Deez’ joy in stream of consciousness rhymes – shown in his self-confessed ‘love letter to Das Racist’ Wonky Beats mix tape – comes to light.

These elements, combined with some perfectly serviceable, if slightly b-side-y songs, make for an enjoyable listen with a few great moments. Taking this and Songs for Imaginative People together, you can’t help but feel that there’s the potential for something truly special in Darwin Deez: perhaps this is a step in the road that needed to be taken.

Out 18 Sep on Lucky Number.

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