[sic] Magazine

Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose

When you get labelled a “Southern-garage version of The Runaways ” you better damn well make sure you’ve got some attitude and, boy, have Jessie, Kelley and Nicki Darlin found some. Gone, it turns out, are the band’s clog percussion and ukulele from their kitsch country debut and, on its successor, Screws Get Loose , the girls run riot instead with a brand of party-pop rockabilly rarely heard this side of their native Tennessee – energetic cuts like “Hives” now proving their calling card.

Quick to the point, the opening title track lets fly with loose and dirty garage-rock, its sneering delivery and retro production rightfully earning it favourable comparison with a snottier Best Coast / Beth Cosentino . Next, first single “Be Your Bro” is comparable with The Ramones ‘ classic “I Wanna Be Sedated” only done surf-pop by tongue-in-cheek chicks with an inane ear for melody.

Newcomer Linwood Regensburg makes his presence known on “Let U Down”, turning in a camp vocal from behind his drum kit that recalls Hunx And His Punx frontman Seth Bogart . The girls follow his lead, chiming out some danceable garage-pop that almost seems ripe for sound-tracking some jaunty Christmas caper. Later, “Fatty Needs A Fix” has a great title and, perhaps amusingly, a real hunger in its belly as the girls taunt some local porker, adding insult to injury with rocking guitar rips and acerbic vocal shards.

Taking down the tempo, “Mystic Minds” echoes into Vivian / Dum Dum Girls territory as little save the track’s title emerges from the swamp-ish vocal stream. On similar ground, “Waste Away” doesn’t quite have the punch of its Dum Dum Girls near-namesake, but jangles along not unlike some of their earlier creations nevertheless.

Showing the girls aren’t done with their roots yet, and maybe unsurprisingly for a band that covered the Carter Family so studiously on their debut, “Boy” rings with mild suggestions of June Carter – if she were projected into some confused period of retro fetishism that is (see Brooklyn, mid 00s). That same previous incarnation also bleeds to the surface in “$” in which Those Darlins ‘ traditional Americana song-craft comes fuzzed up around the edges with protesting feedback.

As the stomping “BUMD” proves, Screws Get Loose still occasionally lands on the wrong side of silly, but compensation is offered in the form of pure, unadulterated fun. Sure, there are hits and there are misses here, but, in these hard times, at least someone sounds like they’re having a laugh … and who are we to begrudge them?

Advised downloads: “Screws Get Loose” and “Be Your Bro”.

~Screws Get Loose is out now on Oh Wow Dang Records .~


Those Darlins @ myspace