Big Fine Thing

Artist: Darlahood Listenability Scale: 70%
Released by: Reprise Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Left

When my editor gave me Darlahood’s new CD "Big Fine Thing" to review, I thought, "Darlahood, is that some new ebonics term or something?". Well I was mistaken, Darlahood is a three piece band from New York who, in a nutshell, rock out. Luke Janklow’s guitar work hearkens back to the ’70s stadium rock monsters like Nazareth, Aerosmith, and even Van Halen. Every song has guitar rifts that just make you want to crank it up and rip the knob off, and maybe that’s why they went to a rented old house in upstate New York to write the songs for "Big Fine Thing". Luke is a flat out awesome guitarist, and he’s also proficient as the band lead singer. With a voice that’s strong and clear, the vocals are crisp and intelligible on all of the tracks. Meanwhile, the rhythm section of Joe Mangisro on drums and David Sellar on bass fill out the band with a funky but powerful backing.

The first song "Grow Your Own", which is not about weed, (although Luke’s voice reminds me a bit of The Black Crows’ Chris Robinson), sets the tone for the album with some great guitar work and an anti-angst theme. "99% Bulletproof" continues to showcase Luke’s guitar, but Dave’s funky-ass bass really makes the song. As I listened on, "Sister Dementia" has a really trippy melody and a catchy chorus while another song that caught me was "Watch Your Mouth". The intro has a Rage Against the Machine sound to it, and the chorus is catchy in a head banging sort o’ way. "De Nature Boy" has a very radio friendly sound to it, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to here it in the near future.

I liked most of the tracks on the CD, but "New York City" was one of the two songs that I really disliked. The vocals on this song become monotonous and grating (just like the city), but it only takes a hit of the fast-forward button because "I’ve Got Pictures" makes up for "New York City" in a big way. This one has got hit written all over it. Luke’s voice takes on that Chris Robinson tone, and the song kind of reminds me of "Hard to Handle". Then we get to "RSVP" which is packed full o’ jams – that almost three minute intro really defines the band. Luke’s guitar is in your face as always, David’s bass is funky and Joe’s drumming ties it all together. After about a two minute singing part "RSVP" rolls back into another three minute jam that rivals the intro. I don’t compare any band to Led Zeppelin lightly, but "RSVP" is a bazaar cross between Smashing Pumpkins and Zeppelin. The final song "Hey Baby" is kind of a disappointment after the onslaught of sound that came before it. It’s a boring caustic ballad and is so different for the rest of the album I have to wonder why it was included.

I give "Big Fine Thing" a 70% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. I just can’t say enough good things about this band. I found myself comparing them to a lot of different bands, and that just the only way I can put into words how these guys sound. There is a lot of good tunes to be found on this album, and their range of styles give a little something for everyone, from funky blues to straight forward rock with no holds barred guitar jams and of course that one damn ballad. The more I listen to this CD the more I like it (even though I still don’t know what the hell Darlahood means), and I’m looking forward to seeing them live when they come through this neck of the woods. They seem like the kind of band that puts on one hell of a show, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. ‘Til next time Hang Loose.