Providence, R.I. post-punk concern, Darklands first arrived on our radar in 2014 with their appearance on the And Flowers, And Bees Mix Tape issued by estimable Boston indie Disposable America. The band formed a year earlier sparked by a mutual affinity for hardcore and 90’s indie touchstones, Archers Of Loaf, Built To Spill, and Sonic Youth. Over the course of a few EP’s the trio of Sam Patrick (Guitar/Vocals), David Marcotte(Bass), and Jeff Novak (Drums)have pushed and refined their sound into something that feels familiar and yet completely unique. On their first full length LP, Hate It Here Darklands deliver a debut that deals with the grim reality of being alone and exorcising loss which gives the album considerable weight, at least to my ears.
Control kicks off the album with muffled guitar chords and Sam Patrick’s plaintive and sad as fuck lyrics “repeat your words alone all day, make me hate them more, …he’s in ground” before a sea of crackling distortion, drums and buoyant bass lines come crashing in. See You Soon is a charging anthem with gigantic hooks propelled by intricate rhythms and earnest vocals. On the albums centerpiece and arguably strongest track is The Hill I Choose To Die On, Patrick states his bad intentions, “I’m here for the wrong reasons” the song sways and teeters back and forth threatening to collapse while being held together by a thick coat of guitar fuzz, a beautifully ramshackle track. Northern Ignorance is pure cacophony which displays the bands punk leanings, for a blissful two and half minute post hardcore romp. The album comes to a close with the Like A House On Fire, a slow building track the begins with chiming guitar chords, reminiscent of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins, but moments later Darklands’ own sonic identity shines through as fuzz pedals are stomped upon and subtle pop hooks are tossed about for an exhilarating close.
Throughout, Hate It Here, Darklands offers up an accomplished and varied full length debut that not only addresses the grim circumstances of finding your way after loss, but it gives us eight reasons to keep going with equal parts guitar squall, infectious pop hooks, and punk catharsis.