Tennessee’s best kept little secret no longer remains hidden as Those Darlins have released their debut self titled album on their very own label Oh Wow Dang! Records. Kelly Darlin, Nikki Darlin, and Jessie Darlin who make up Those Darlins do their own thing their own way. The result is a band that spills out some great tunes combining pop with rock, punk, and country.
Hailing from Murfreesboro, TN the musically inclined trio of women have already made their way around the US playing shows small and large. With their constant touring with acts such as Dan Auerbach, The Features, and even playing a stage at this year’s Bonnaroo, they finally have released their debut album for all to hear.
Having already been a huge fan, I was excited for their music to spread to a larger audience. I think it will not be too difficult for that to happen thanks to this release.
So what is it about this band that has more or less turned me into an obsessed fan? The girls mix the perfect blend of garage rock, punk, and even some country rock style all into a sound I just can not get enough of. They have enough sass to knock your grandpa to the floor, the looks that guarantee instant crushes, the smiles of angels, and can party down like no other. I’m pretty sure they can all kick your ass too with out any help.
Appalachian sounds clash with punk attitude and female strong ideals and is smashed into a fine sounding bar-rock sound all coming from three good looking gals who drink their whiskey from the bottle. Think Wanda Jackson meets Joan Jett with even a taste of some Kathleen Hanna.
The likable covers the Carter Family’s “Who’s That Knocking At My Window?” as well as “Cannonball Blues” proved Those Darlins have a rendering for the country genre but when you move throughout the album you can clearly hear that their musical roots are not just from Nashville
Opening track “Red Light Love” does not even suggest they are a country act as they play a more bar-rock song. What I like about this one so much is I can actually feel them smiling as they sing this fun song.
“Wild One” is more or less the girls’ anthem/reminder of being wild and crazy. This song is Wanda Jackson with punk rock authority and provides a fair warning to all the folk out there that have a more than a musical liken for Those Darlins. This was the first song I had heard from the band and was the reason became so fond of them.
“The Whole Damn Thing”, to me, was the funniest song on the album as the girls sing about getting hammered and eating an entire chicken. To make things even more amusing the song continues with the consumed chicken being forgotten about.
Almost reminding me of something Johnny Cash might have written during his raging days was “Glass To You”, a drunken slur of a track. I almost felt bad for the girls in this painful song as they declare they are having “whiskey blues” and have “been drunk since half past noon” because of their man. Having more than one vocalist sing throughout just keeps it unhappy.
“Snaggle Tooth Mama” is a boot-stomping country jam with some fun intermitting guitar and bar room piano playing that by the end of the track will have you singing along. “222” is a tough track about all about boys, parties, and fun. Coincidentally one of the studios that the girls recorded at was in NYC at Jeff Cutain’s basement studio called 222.
“DUI Or Die” was more of a tale of an alcohol infused evening out all ending with sirens and jail bars as well as blaming to booze. “Drunk driving, I’m guilty, and I’m blaming the booze” pretty much summed up the song in a comical way also giving hint to all the ladies who want to avoid DUIs but going home with someone and letting them drive.
Even though some of the songs suggest a country rock like style, they add much more rock and roll and punk rock finesse giving for a fiercer sound. Having the girls split up vocal duties just keeps their songs that much more interesting. Their debut album is an instant classic to my ears and I am sure it will be for many as all of the songs are very catchy, musically and lyrically. This is not a band you will forget about after just one album. These girls are going places.
Seeing them live is a whole experience in its own. Big crowds or small crowds these girls play their hearts out, drink the big boy drinks, and will force you to have a good time. When they take the stage one might think they do not have the capabilities that make up what Those Darlins are all about – loud music and good times. The moment the guitars are strummed and the vocals start it’s clear that something fun is about to happen.