Review: Daria- Impossible Colours (Arctic Rodeo Recordings)

Posted: May 18, 2016 in Reviews

Impossible Colours cover art

One of the great things about being asked to contribute to Keep Track of the Time is that I’m getting exposure to some great European bands that I would normally not know about, here in the far southwest corner of the USA. Daria is one such band, coming out of France. Starting with a solid post-punk base and adding in emo energy and some awesome mature melodic lines, Daria presents a dozen strong songs on this latest LP. Now, so-called emo-punk or post-punk bands are a dime a dozen, you know? But what sets Daria apart from the pack are those really strong melodies. Too often, bands of this genre can fall into a trap of just playing lots of loud guitars and screaming their vocals to show their angst. But Daria actually provides real songs. Not only are the melodies good, the arrangements are thoughtful. And the vocals remind me somewhat of new local SoCal favorites Spanish Love Songs, with a deep quality, perfect for the emotional content of the songs.

While it’s difficult to pick out a few favorites, since all the songs are quite good, I will mention some particular highlights that caught my attention.  “Margins” has some great dynamics, going from loud to soft and back, and some great, unexpected guitar lines. “A Tired Hand” is a longer track, at a slower tempo. It starts out with some cool tension from the guitar, then the bass joins in, and then the vocals, with the wailing of the guitar moving to the back. The complex interplay of the bass and guitar lines is really nice to listen to as the song progresses. The last three or so minutes of the seven minutes plus song are instrumental, and the interplay between the guitars is nice, but the last minute or so gets epic, with a huge, soaring, buzzy guitar full of reverb that sends shivers down my spine. And I love how “I Live in a Scottish Castle” rocks so hard while being so goddamn melodic.

Then there’s the title track, “Impossible Colours.” It starts out quietly, with a pretty guitar melody, all by itself, and then is joined by the vocals, also quiet and understated. The song slowly builds, as more instruments join in. Yes, there’s keyboard that joins in as the drums also join and the guitars get buzzier, but it works very well underneath everything else. As the volume builds, the vocals get more intense and emotional, and everything builds during the last third of the track. About 40 seconds before the end, everything builds to a crescendo, with trumpets joining in – trumpets?? Yes! And it sounds so glorious, that I wish that 40 seconds could last forever!

PS

Check it out here: https://dariarock.bandcamp.com/album/impossible-colours

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