Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Israel Darling - "Dinosaur Bones and Mechanical Hands"

Engine Room Recordings artist, Israel Darling are set to release their debut album, “Dinosaur Bones and Mechanical Hands” on August 4th. Hailing from Western North Carolina, singer/guitarist/songwriter Jacob Darden’s music reflects his small town life with themes of isolation and religion wrapped in Appalachian folk and indie rock.

“Samson The Mason” opens the album with Jacob’s aching vocals and jangly guitars, turning into a raucous romp with shouted backing vocals. “I’m Dropping By” works itself into a fever with a shuffling beat, slide guitar and handclaps in its short two minute time span. The acoustic guitars and distant, ghostly background vocals on “Oh My God” provide the right atmosphere for the sorrowful vocal melody before ending the song in a cathartic jam. Leaning more towards indie rock than folk, the clever arrangement on the upbeat “Sherwood St.” uses synths, shape-shifting drumming and shout-along “whoa, oh, oh” vocals to great effect. Whereas stand out track, “Woman, God, And Pity For A Man” blends the two styles together seamlessly with all of the country music signifiers (harmonica, slide guitar, and picked guitars) but with bubbling synth, crashing cymbals and passionately unhinged vocals that are reminiscent of early Bright Eyes and Okkervil River. The twangy “Locked In A Safe” kicks up the dust with a country-fried freak out at the end and has a positive message, (“Never give your dreams up”) sung with the conviction of feeling trapped in a small town. The smoothed out “All Is Well” unfolds, allowing Jacob room to croon among the banjo picking and beautiful textures. The last song, “Dinosaur Bones and Mechanical Hands” also experiments with textures making the title track both rootsy and dreamy as the title suggests.


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