Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Spectator at the Darling Parade

One thing about this job that gets easier and easier the more I do it is how seamless the discovery of a new group translates into a detailed article. Even with the writer's block every journalist gets sometimes, I can't stay away too long, as these artists and many more just keep pulling me in to their incredible music.
Case in point is today's story, Darling Parade. A four-piece prophecy of things to come, Darling Parade is a cunning mix of power-pop sheen melted over alternative-punk attitude and rhythm. The anthemic sing-along choruses Darling Parade weave between their stop-start verses create a track-list that simmers with new melodies driven over classic pop dynamics.
A tight-knit group from Nashville- Tennessee consisting of Kristin Kearns (lead vocals and guitar), Adam Hatfield (lead guitar), Nate McCoy (bass), and Casey Conrad (drums), Darling Parade take the melody and anthemic song structure of Avril Lavigne and lay it over the punk ethic of Paramore to create a slew of songs that sound as fresh as ever and blow me away.

Darling Parade; From left: Adam Hatfield, Kristin Kearns, Nate McCoy, and Casey Conrad

I discovered the Darlings a few months ago, and the reason I waited to tell you guys all about them is because why get the lowdown on one record when you can get it on three? The Darlings just released their most recent EP, Until We Say It's Over, just over a month ago around Thanksgiving, and it's a sick addition to the already burgeoning DP catalogue. One of my favorite songs from any of Darling Parade's recordings is the first song I heard by them, "Bells Are Ringing" from their self-titled debut. In its corner, "Bells Are Ringing" has a melody that kicks ass bred against a background of rhythmic guitars and drums. From its inception, "Bells Are Ringing" finds a home deep inside of Kearns' soaring vocals which hover somewhere in between Avril Lavigne and Paramore. Carving out her own little vocal niche for Darling Parade, Kearns leads the rest of the band fearlessly into battle as Conrad wrestles with his drums to blast for the most powerful rhythm he can muster from the skins. Tightly wound around McCoy's heartbeat basslines (that drive the verses of this song in an unforgettable way), Conrad's drums prove that a drummer, too, can create his own sound, if you're listening for it. Hatfield's fretwork is something that continues to intrigue me throughout the entirety of the song. Pick-slides and finger-trembles that pop out in the most unexpected of places, Hatfield finds a way to take a song that was already Top Ten material and make it even more so. If "Bells Are Ringing" doesn't hook you the first time you hear it, I will be utterly surprised. The keywork, too, provided by both Kearns and McCoy, takes the track to new heights with power and melody that I can't help but fall into. This song is everything that's right with the music coming out now. A great anthemic message wrapped up in the shiny wrapping paper of melody and pop-polish, I can't imagine what more the Darlings could do right.     

Darling Parade's debut: Darling Parade

Also from Darling Parade jumps "Far Away," a song that fights with the former to assert its dominance over the EP. Built on McCoy's blistering basslines, the vocal work by Kearns is some of her best. Hatfield's guitar riffs are the essence of the word "epic," and as his palm-mutes back up McCoy's distorted basslines on the verses, there is already something different about this track. Conrad's drums add to the epic feel of the track as they crash in a crescendo of rhythmic bliss over Hatfield's chords while Kearns is high above, a vocal angel with a certain type of edge. With "Far Away" and "Bells Are Ringing" on the same record, the Darlings prove that they have a candle to burn in the hard-rock parade.

One of the best things about Darling Parade is that they seem to come out with a new EP almost as quickly as I can go out and get them. Just before their release of their most effort, Until We Say It's Over, the Darlings released the EP What You Want, featuring such hit songs as "Take This City" and "What You Want," as well as the blistering self-contained single, "Perfectly Worthless" (which has seen substantial radio play on my own radio show, Underground Takeover). 

Darling Parade's newest EP: Until We Say It's Over

Yet even with Darling ParadeWhat You Want, and the "Perfectly Worthless" single under their belts, the Darlings are still not satisfied. So just over a month ago came their most recent triumph, Until We Say It's Over. I've listened to this album over and over (and it's also worked its way into my radio show playlists in a big way), and there is just no way to not love this record. The lead-off single (which comes along with a great music video) is "Never Wrong," a song that will have you singing even before you know it. Kearns' voice is hypnotic and Conrad's drums are rhythmic pulses of life as Hatfield's guitar chords blast through in technicolor force when the chorus begins. Clearly my favorite track on the new EP, "Never Wrong" is an instant classic in the DP catalogue. The high resonance of Hatfield's guitar bleeds seamlessly over McCoy's basslines, and like heartbeats in the darkness, Darling Parade's rhythms are so contagious, there's no way not to love this band. Among other five-star tracks like "Long Way Back" and "Remember" (which features guest vocals from Stephen Christian of Anberlin), "Never Wrong" is another grand slam for Darling Parade.
With the potential to be one of the greatest new bands of the 2012 musical year, Darling Parade burst onto a scene that will surely welcome them with open arms. A tuneful spirit signaling the renewal of true rock n' roll, Darling Parade soar in on the silk-tipped leather wings of true alternative rock. If one band makes it onto your playlist this year, this one has got to be it. The Darlings have arrived, and with them my renewed faith in the power of true melodic rock.

Sounds Like: Paramore, Avril Lavigne, Letters to Cleo

Key Tracks from Darling Parade: "Bells Are Ringing," "Far Away," "Never Fall Down"
                   from What You Want: "Take This City," "What You Want"
                   from Until We Say It's Over: "Never Wrong," "Long Way Back," "Remember"
                   Singles: "Perfectly Worthless"

Check out Darling Parade more at their: Homepage and Facebook  

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