written by Chris Familton
Recent visitors to these shores, Those Darlins impressed with their loose and rollicking live shows and they’ve followed it up with a great sophomore album in Screws Get Loose. This time round they’ve found a better balance between tongue in cheek lyrics, rocking guitars and their blend of garage rock and country music – barn rock?
The album opens with two downright brilliant songs in the title track and Be Your Bro. The former has a head bopping feel until the harmonies hit in the chorus and it soars into one of those classic songs you’ve never heard. It even includes a delightfully wonky guitar solo that sounds like its designed to intentionally sabotage the sweet melodies but instead it enhances them even more. Be Your Bro is a great example of the band’s irreverent side with lines like “I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you but you just wanna stick it in” in the tangled tale of lusting after friends.
If you are looking for touchstones then you can’t go past Black Lips, The Primitives and Loretta Lynn. Their sound is certainly derivative but they do it so well, both lyrically and musically. They don’t restrict themselves to churning out short blasts of garage rock either. When they tear through two and half minutes of Hives and then take a left turn into droning psychedelia with Mystic Mind it is infectious and explorative stuff and it shows they aren’t one-trick ponies.
With a healthy fixation on the seedier side of relationships Those Darlins aren’t afraid to also sing a genuine love song in the form of the swooning and devotional Boy. Live they are a much messier and chaotic proposition so this album is the perfect medium to hear the songs and the great guitar playing that peppers an album that is catchy as hell and begs for repeated listens.
this review first appeared in Drum Media