Release Date: Feb 19, 2013
Record label: Lucky Number
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Darwin Deez’s successful eponymous debut arrived two years ago and received bags of airplay thanks to a mix of catchy anthems and New York new wave-style guitar licks. Live shows were a blast as well, with playful sets incorporating messing about and improvised dance routines similar to Fatboy Slim’s iconic Praise You video. Front man Darwin Deez (for he confusingly shares his stage name with the band) struck a strange and interesting stage presence – a mixture of new-age hippy with Shirley Temple curls and kookier than a Wes Anderson retrospective.
Eager to prove that his abilities were more impressive than his image, Brooklyn hipster Darwin Deez upped the ante with a showy, unconventional songwriting style on his follow-up to 2009's self-titled debut. The stringy curls and mustache pictured on the album cover of Songs for Imaginative People may recall Dirty Mind-era Prince, but, in fact, he takes a page from the purple one musically, as an extremely talented guitar player who is more concerned with clever song structure, introspective lyrics, and intricate production than with showing off his licks (which, like Prince's, tend to be clean and very funky). Deez has tricks on his six-string for sure, but he inserts them sparingly, concentrating instead on forcing musical ideas together in a cut-and-paste fashion.
Darwin Deez flirts with the slacker, loser, outsider, counter culture, drop out archetypes and flirts well. He's got the kooky haircut avec hairband and fashionable clothes that look second hand even if they are part of a contemporary designer range. He embodies a feeling of hope, indicating that change is possible, remaining cooly defiant towards authority and aloofly rebellious: a serious try (not so) hard North Carolinian.
Darwin Smith released his self-titled debut album as Darwin Deez in 2010, a kooky, lo-fi set of maddeningly catchy nursery rhymes for Manic Pixie Dreamboys. The 28-year old Wesleyan graduate recently moved from New York City to Asheville, N. C.
Darwin DeezSongs for Imaginative People(Lucky Number)Rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of 5) Recorded at home, self-produced and sounding it, Darwin Deez’s sophomore effort finds the auteur pushing the boundaries on his already idiosyncratic pop. The brittle programmed drums and overdubbed nature of the project gives it a chilly vibe that a band would have likely added some warmth, even soul to. But Deez lives in his own insulated, isolated world, talk/singing odd, non sequitur lyrics with enthusiasm and a commitment that makes it seem he is convinced of their importance.
Sometimes a change in location and environment is just the inspiration a songwriter needs to spark the creative process. For Darwin Smith, upping sticks and leaving the hustle of New York for Asheville in his home state of North Carolina was the catalyst. The result, ‘Songs For Imaginative People’, is a follow up album that significantly expands on the promise shown on his self-titled debut.While ’Darwin Deez’ felt like a charming, yet slight collection of basic indie pop songs, ’Songs For Imaginative People’ sounds like a proper album.
The carefree electro-pop of ‘Radar Detector‘ was deified into the cavernous halls of indie disco Valhalla, shelved between iconic anthems like ‘Last Nite‘ or ‘Fluorescent Adolescent‘. It may not exactly deserve that legendary status – but given the amount that Darwin Deez (the curly-coiffed singer) and Darwin Deez (the band) were shoved down our throats back in 2010, it’s not surprising it got there. ‘Constellations’ and that other song from the album that no one remembers failed to reach that zenith, and it would seem that Darwin Deez were destined to be labelled with those three career-mourning words: one hit wonders.
A second album lacking cohesion, failing to showcase Deez’s strengths. Jude Clarke 2013 The debut Darwin Deez album (the name applying to both band and frontman) won many friends in 2010 thanks to its quirky lead tracks Constellations and Radar Detector. But that album’s darker elements have been greater emphasised on this follow-up set. The band’s lo-fi charm is replaced by a less cohesive, more chaotic sound.