Darling Destroyer

Leopold And His Fiction

ILA Records, 2017

http://www.leopoldandhisfiction.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/22/2020

An Austin, Texas outfit with a small handful of excellent releases already since their inception in 2005, Leopold And His Fiction knows their way around folk, rock, garage, and psych-friendly textures. On Darling Destroyer, they often mesh them all into a highly energetic and borderline chaotic brand of inimitable song craft that's as likely to fill arenas as it is seedy, sweaty basements. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The album starts with the contagious guitar work of the garage-rock oriented “Cowboy,” where incendiary drumming and soulful backing vocals make for an excellent introduction. This spirited approach continues to the thumping and very tuneful “It's How I Feel (Free),” which is very much indebted to '70s swagger.

Things only get better from here, including the rowdy, gospel anthem “I'm Caving In” as well as the folk rock, acoustic guitar picking of “Ride.” “Saturday,” the album's best tune, then thunders with a blues rock appeal that shakes loudly and charges with a visceral aspect that might make you drag out your Iggy Pop records.

Deeper into the listen, “Better Off Alone” benefits greatly from keys and backing vocals on the powerful ballad-like climate, while “Flowers” places R&B stabs into the equation, as soft horns populate a very meticulous landscape that you're not likely to hear anywhere else. The album exits on a Bob Dylan cover, with Daniel James Leopold and company putting a very lively and busy, proto-punk spin on “If you Gotta Go, Go Now.”

This is the fourth album from Leopold And His Fiction, and if you've got an inkling towards fuzzed out Motown traces in your retro-rock that sounds like it would have been birthed in Detroit, you're really going to enjoy Darling Destroyer. Something tells me we'd all enjoy it even more live, and preferably after pre-gaming with some records by The Stooges and The Raconteurs.

Rating: A-

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