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Darwin Deez’s Songs for Imaginative People

Posted on the 21 February 2013 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie


If you’re a musician wanting to stand out in a crowd full of meticulously trimmed facial hair and thrift shop fashion, you could do a lot worse than putting out a body of work that bounces off the walls with hip, frantic energy. Darwin Deez may look odd and his music may sound odd, but he has embraced these qualities with gusto, and in doing so has carved out a wonderfully charming and loveable little hole for himself in the ever-growing indie market.

Following up their self-titled album, Darwin and fellow members of the Deez collective have put together a sophomore album that takes what worked well previously and playfully tweaked it. There are no real big strides of change made on Songs For Imaginative People, but, to be honest, there was little need for any drastic metamorphosis. Sure, the odd pop style Deez has crafted is somewhat scatterbrained and messy, but that’s part of its appeal. His wiry guitar licks and glitchy, broken rhythms are sharp — razor sharp, at times. The jarring, staggered approach to composing on this record may very well divide people, but I for one can really get behind the cutting, retro guitar shards that are scattered across the record. They keep both the album and the audience on their toes and serve as a great contrast against the light, airy vocal melodies and cute, clever and kitschy lyrical expressions Deez peppers across the record. The wonderfully understated yet infectious “Alice,” with its references to board games of yesteryear, are a perfect example of how all of the above fits together so nicely.

But it’s not just light, lean and twitchy instrumentation that makes this record, nor is it just Deez’s songwriting style. Album number two sees the New York native begin to play with unwinding structures, shaping and stretching songs into different positions. This experimentation has helped him expand his canon of sound and provided him with even more options going forward. The lead single “Get Free” shows this more focused approach in the best light, moving from slashing guitar hooks into a dreamy, 8-bit bridge, proving that there’s more flex and free thinking to Deez than many may have credited him with before.

With its ill-fitting, scrambled style, Songs for Imaginative People is a record that won’t be for everyone. But I feel like Darwin and company have upped their game significantly, and in doing so have made a fun, high-spirited, and captivating record, which just happens to have a thick layer of cool poured all over it.

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