Album Review: The Darts – “Me.Ow”
For better or worse, garage rock is one of those genres that is always going to be with us. Music may continue to evolve as the years go by, but that sheer energy rush of four mates cramming into a dingy rehearsal space and bashing out primal Stooges-influenced riffs with maximum ferocity and minimum finesse will always appeal to a certain section of musicians, and with good reason.
To call the results of this genre a bit scattergun would be to state the bleedin’ obvious, as anyone who remembers the full on deluge of bands who had 15 minutes in the spotlight in the wake of The Strokes breaking through 15 years ago will remember. For every band that manages to effortlessly achieve that mix of killer spiky riffs and low-slung cool that so many crave, there will be a bunch of clueless chasers who get things hideously wrong. And I’m sure everyone out there has their own example that they can recall on that front.
Happily, The Darts appear to be a band very much in the former category – Me.Ow is their debut proper, following on from two strong EPs which appeared at the tail end of last year. Equal parts sixties scuzz and 21st century bile, it’s a good effort – songs like The Cat’s Meow, Get Messy and Don’t Freak Me Out bring back good memories of The Von Bondies or The Breeders. Or maybe what The Yeah Yeah Yeahs would’ve sounded like if they’d had even the most basic grasp of what a memorable tune was.
It’s not just a case of dragging the sound of 2002 forward a decade and a half though, on Me.Ow you’ll hear traces of everyone from Jane’s Addiction (Caught In The Devil’s Game) to The Doors (You’ll Bring Me Flowers), and it’s good to hear a band who aren’t afraid to throw the odd curveball into what’s generally a quite tried and tested formula. Good stuff, and hopefully a sign that bright things are to come from this lot.
A good debut album proper from The Darts which builds on the two EPs nicely by focusing on the good bits and taking them one step further. If this band had emerged blinking into the sunlight in 2003 then they'd probably have been dead certs for a Top 20 hit, but don't let the fact that they're a decade or so late on the scene put you off them - this is definitely a worthwhile album to check out.