Picturing some Nashville bank teller with slick horn-rimmed glasses, a kitschy red sweater, and exorbitant amounts of make-up and perfume is probably a good way to distinguish Darla Farmer. Having drawn the name from a bank teller out of Music City that most likely matched that description, Darla Farmer is an unusual seven-piece collective with a job to do on Rewiring the Electric Forest, its full-length debut on Paper Garden Records.
I’ve had more genre discussions about bands like these than I’d care to remember. Sliding an album into the player and having friends walk in and wonder “What the hell is that?” has often been a significant part of my life and Darla Farmer would be sure to draw out a similar response. As such, I decided to tuck myself away for this one.
Good thing I did. Rewiring the Electric Forest is an enormously peculiar merger of frantic energy, folksy bedlam, and…yes, carnival rock. Reading the press release, I saw the term and laughed aloud, spitting milk everywhere.
Upon hearing “The Quotient,” I knew what they were on about. No sense cryin’ over spit milk, after all.
Remember having visions of those tiny cars and about 50 clowns packed in? That’s what comes to mind with Rewiring the Electric Forest and its eclectic liveliness.
When the first track pops open, it’s like a jack-in-the-box with a dorky smirk has just burst out of some hidden corner in your mind. Singer Clint Wilson bounds about like a ringleader to the most chaotic carnival freak show ever. The rest of the band stacks bleats of trombone, trumpet, piano, and guitar around Wilson’s wildness.
Wilson lisps and rambles tenaciously through “History” and other songs like it with the mumbling-and-stumbling delivery of a drunken circus clown with a bottle of Jack Daniels in the back pocket of his huge polka-dotted pants. Somewhere, Darla Farmer is giving someone the right change.