Smear yourself in Darlings. In the week before the international release of Kevin Drew’s first solo album proper – that is if we discount the 2007 offering Spirit If…, the first in a series entitled Broken Social Scene Presents:, and which was a Broken Social Scene record by any other name – the Canadian collective’s co-founder and frontman also unveils his very own name-brand body butter. So for an additional $20 you could quite easily re-hydrate your skin with this tequila lime scented product whilst luxuriating in the sounds of Darlings.
And luxuriate you most surely will, for Darlings is a sumptuous recording; eleven tracks of whacked-out bliss wherein Drew extols the various merits of sex, solitude, dancing by yourself and a life fast approaching forty. Here he reins in the occasional idiosyncrasies and wilder sonic excesses of the Broken Social Scene experiment, pulling the handbrake firmly on at those points where surrealism and over-indulgence once threatened to completely take over. But such admirable restraint is not achieved at the expense of producing some truly remarkable, uplifting music.
Collaborating with fellow Canadian Andy Kim (a man who co-wrote that most saccharine of hits for The Archies’ ‘Sugar Sugar’) Drew resists the temptation this time round to draw upon Broken Social Scene’s revolving cast of thousands, preferring instead to use just two of those particular cohorts Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit, alongside Dean Stone from Apostle of Hustle and Dave Hamelin of The Stills. Feist adds another Canadian vocal dimension to ‘You In Your Were’, an astonishing exercise in how to best produce a nigh-on-perfect popular song dripping in piano, synthetic strings and atmospheric emotion. Were it possible, the concluding ‘And That’s All I Know’ scales even dizzier heights of piano-driven orchestral chamber pop.
Much earlier, the opening quartet of songs reveals Drew as the Torontonian Prince – ‘Mexican Aftershow Party’ mimics ‘Purple Rain’ – a man consumed by love and sex and growing old; a man who is perhaps still searching to either attain or maintain his relevance in this modern world. On the clear evidence he provides here, Kevin Drew has surely achieved that singular objective.
Darlings is released on 24th March 2014 through City Slang Records