DARLINGS, ARTS AND CRAFTS
“Get the body butter, baby,” croons Kevin Drew, as his velvety, sex-obsessed new album, Darlings, slowly unfurls. It’s supple, with Drew’s silky wisps of red-light-district dereliction fluttering by as he sings with a detached and sardonic drawl.
It’s the celebrated songwriter’s first true solo album out of the shadow of Broken Social Scene, as we’re all aware that the “Broken Social Scene Presents” albums were just a thinly veiled guise for Drew and fellow BSS bandmate Brendan Canning to release solo albums. The result is a bizarre, love-struck album of coitus-centric Drew musings about love, life and… Mexican after-show parties?
“I like to go to Mexican after-show parties,” he sings plaintively and eloquently on the appropriately named “Mexican Aftershow Party” in what sounds eerily similar to a deadpan Flight of the Conchords imitation. Several of the tracks, such as the dreamy, sex-positive first single, “Good Sex,” recall songs penned for 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, but with a stripped-down, haunting gauntness to them.
While it’s not career-defining like 2002’s indie-rock behemoth You Forgot It in People, Darlings is an honest confessional album by a guy who’s enjoyed a lot of great sex — and clearly thought about it far too neurotically for his own good. The record, much like what I assume Drew’s sex life to be, is a roller coaster of climactic highs and empty, shame-filled lows.
However, what remains apparent on Darlings is that Drew is an exceptionally talented songwriter with a equally exceptionally dirty mind and an interesting way of expressing it, and that he has been paramount in helping to shape and define an era of independent Canadian music.
By Nick Laugher