Album: Extralife

Artist: Darlingside

Label: More Doug Records/Thirty Tigers

Release Date: February 23, 2018


The Upshot: Despite the expected Fleet Foxes-meets-Beach Boys elements, the Western Massachusetts outfit also deftly branches out with new sounds.


Western Massachusetts baroque pop/folk outfit Darlingside could have easily followed up their critically-praised sophomore effort Birds Say with more of the same. The fact that they used that built up good will to experiment more broadly on Extralife shows a band looking ahead.

Though there are still plenty of the Fleet Foxes-meets-Beach Boys elements to much of this new record, it also finds the band branching out with new sounds. On a song like “Eschaton,” the quartet adds in a strong synth line better associated with a group like The Postal Service then a New England-based folk band. The mix is a welcome addition to their sound, allowing them to stand out yet again from their peers. So is the addition of trumpets at the beginning of “Indian Orchard Road,” but the band has not abandoned their original sound entirely. The opening track, which shares its name with album title is quite possible their most beautiful song yet, thanks to the soft, brilliant harmonies. The same can be said about the song “Singularity.”

Elsewhere, the band is less inspired, with a few tracks that nearly blend into each other. But, overall, an experiment in branching out musically that mostly plays out perfectly.

 DOWNLOAD: “Extralife,” “Eschaton” and “Singularity”


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