Darling BOY is a self-confessed punk and multi-instrumentalist whose musical abilities have seen him heard and heralded by a whole host of luminaries.
XTC’s Andy Partridge and Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols are both fans of his energetic, guitar-based antics while Steve Lamacq and Gary Crowley have both bookmarked his talents for big things.
Darling BOY is his latest guise after previously performing with The Wutars and punk legends including Duncan Reid and Spizz Energi. His music veers from raw garage rock to more stripped back acoustic material – but whichever form his songs take, they all sound thrillingly vital and alive.
What the hell is an air conditioned gypsy? Even the track of the same name gives very few clues. Anyway, it’s a great name for a song/EP and this record in general is an excellent introduction to the talents of London songwriter Darling BOY, a man who has already found fans in many of the alternative music world’s luminaries (Glen Matlock, Alan McGee, XTC’s Andy Partridge, Steve Lamacq). He’s played in a few bands of note already, but we’re here to have a look at his latest release, out on March 4th. It shows skilled and diverse songwriting, with the title-track being semi-acoustic punk that’s somewhere between The Waterboys and The Libertines. This has been chosen as to name the EP, but there are better songs here.
We begin with classic garage-rock. ‘Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman’ sounds like a Small Faces demo with the Energizer bunny on drums that was deemed a bit ragged for release. What makes this debut more appealing is the variety. It’s all traditional guitar-band set-up, but the tunes differ in style. ‘Fortune’ is closer to the British indie sounds of the mid-90s, and we don’t mean Britpop, it’s carried out with gusto and determination too, and this immediately makes it sound all the more vital. Finally we get ‘Shirley’, a stripped-down acoustic track that sounds as though it was recorded live, or at least in one take, again making it more vibrant than a cleaned up version. We’re not predicting massive sales, but a cult hero could be about to be born.
Imagine a modern indie-folk performer with a time machine, so he can go back to the late fifties rock n roll scene in urban heartlands like Liverpool and Manchester and marinate there for a few years, then skip through and experience the seventies and eighties. The result might be Darling Boy, a man who can pay many instruments and isn’t afraid to arrange them in a skiffle shuffle or a brooding singalong. His ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ EP is coming out March 4th, and stands with one foot proudly in the musical past, and another in the now.
“He is the World’s Greatest Singer-Songwriter That No-One’s Ever Bloody Heard Of.”
This may come off as a quote that’s shooting too high too early, but the darling boy we know as Darling BOY hasn’t simply made this statement through self-importance, oh no, he has his fans and music to back him up, and who can argue with the facts? He has Andy Partridge (of XTC fame), Glen Matlock (co-writer of Never Mind The Bollocks), and Alan McGee, only the man who managed such great acts of the music industry as Oasis, My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream!
The song that Darling BOY has channelled his lazy swagger and attitude into is his single at the moment, ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’. A title that might not make too much sense, but who cares when all you can do is clap along and move your feet to the swinging Belle & Sebastian rhythm he’s laid out. With a powerfully strummed introduction reminiscent of Oasis, a vocal charm delivered with the soft, lethargic style of Stuart Murdoch and Morrissey, and a banjo which would have only been thought of by Mumford & Sons, you can’t help but hear the indie pop of old pushing through and influencing everything around him, until the driven guitar slowly pushes its way through the mix. With Gallagher-esque bluesy licks, the guitar nails the piece down as a nod to the Britpop greats, while keeping its own sound during the small solo section.
Darling BOY has planned an EP launch for the 4th March, and an EP launch party on the 26th February at Surya. If you want a night of dancing and fun, get down there and get yourself an EP while you’re at it! This is a wagon you don’t want to miss.
Here’s a name you could hear a bit more of in 2013 – Darling BOY.
(I believe the lower / upper case in the name is intentional.)
London-based Darling BOY has played just two short tours of Germany and a few ‘home’ shows, including the iconic 100 Club venue in home city. Even so, he already has the likes of Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Mark Ellen (TV / Radio Presenter), Andy Partridge (XTC) TV Smith (The Adverts) and Alan McGhee (yup, THAT Alan McGhee) all talking about him in favourable and encouraging tones.
The four-track ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy‘ EP is from what I can make out, his first formal first release, and with the current fad for singer-songwriter types showing no immediate sign of abating, there is definitely room at the top table for another – this time one with a bit of ‘attitude’ to their performance.
The time could be right for Darling BOY.
Darling BOY describes himself as The World’s Greatest Modern Musical Punk Polymath That No-One’s Ever Bloody Heard Of. Yet!
After previously toiling with The Wutars and performing with punk legends such as Duncan Reid and Spizz Energi, he’s back in a new guise and with a new band.
XTC’s Andy Partridge and Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols are all supposed to be fans of this self-confessed punk’s energetic, guitar-based antics. M spoke to him as he prepares for his show at London’s 100 Club on 16 October.
How long have you been making music?
Since I was 11. I formed a rap band in primary school, inspired by East 17 and the Outhere Brothers. We absolutely smashed my little sister’s birthday party at Tanworth-in-Arden village hall. Nick Drake? Whatevs.
What inspired your new album/songs?
I feel really strongly about rhythm – it’s the centrifugal force that controls melody, mood, phonetics and everything else. When I’m writing I look for the pulse first, then everything tends to fall around that. I think that it helps me to tune in to whatever it is I want to say a little better, sensitises me a bit more.My first instrument was the drums, and I think that drumming still massively informs my general way of thinking. I tend to dribble, and walk with my knuckles scraping against the floor, for example. Lyrically, I guess I try to steer clear of self pity and too much woe, and instead look for the way out. I’m an optimistic realist – a drummer who loves writing and playing different instruments of all persuasions but realises he will always be a drummer.
What process do you go through to create your music?
I don’t, really. It just arrives, like any kind of thought. My thoughts just happen to have amazing choruses.
How would you describe your sound?
What would your dream collaboration be?
There’s a new band around called COVES. They’re really, really good. I’ve been a huge fan of John Ridgard, who plays guitar and writes the music, since forever and I would love to work with him.
Where can we catch you performing next?
The 100 Club on Oxford Street, on Tuesday 16 October. I’m bringing out a new band for the occasion, and then playing guitar and keys for punk legend Duncan Reid afterwards.