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A Farewell to Twang
Screws Get Loose (Oh Wow Dang Records)
Those Darlins' eponymous debut was filled with twangy rockers and even some downright country shit-kickers. On the band's latest, Screws Get Loose, listeners get more of a garage-rock record – kind of like the Runaways, but a bit more reserved and focused. Not to mention a bit more dark and road-weary.
Whereas the debut mixed in redneck romps like "Snaggle Tooth Mama" and "Whole Damn Thing" with Ramones-inspired songs such as "Red Light Love," Screws Gets Loose sticks pretty close to a plan. And it's a good plan.
The first single off Screws, "I Wanna Be Your Bro," came complete with a sneering video and plenty of Joan Jett-style attitude. Truly, it's an anti-player anthem that netted the band plenty of attention. The title track, which leads off the album, is another tough rocker that helps to quickly define the album.
But the diversity begins with the wailing "Let U Down," and continues with the jam rocker "Mystic Mind," which takes the band in an interesting direction (although one could argue that the Darlins' excellent single "Midnight Jogger" from last year was a step in the same direction).
"Tina Said" grinds out a cool riff and melody, while "Hives" sounds like it could be a lost Ramones cover. The twang finally returns on "Waste Away" late in the 11-song album, but it is clear from the start the direction in which this band is headed. (Their raucous live show last month at Headliners was yet more evidence.)
The only misstep I found here – unless you count the unfortunate cover art – is that the vocals just seem to be a little too wet, making it difficult to distinguish the lyrics. This clearly was done to achieve a certain effect, but it can be disconcerting when you are figuring out how they managed to rhyme "Tina" with "subpoena."
All in all, however, this is an intriguing step forward from a hard-working band. Catch the live show, and you'll be hooked.
Find out more at thosedarlins.com.