EP REVIEW: Darlia ‘Candyman’

Darlia is probably the first band that I’ve lowered myself to the state of screaming 14 year-old girl for, which is a bit weird given that I’m 17 and male.

I think in the past, the music that I’ve been most interested in – Floyd, Nirvana, Zeppelin and the like – had (sorry) had their day before I was even born and by 1996 were almost echoes of their past, kept alive by the popularity of band t-shirts and, for those lucky enough to still be going, the occasional gig or remaster.

Darlia, however, are contemporary, if still maintaining some bygone essences, and, by my standards, are full of potential. With their first EP coming out in October last year, Knock Knock felt like it could be the start of something, and so began the painful wait for Candyman – the second EP which could decide whether Darlia was a three-hit-wonder or one to watch.

A slight glimpse at the title-track ‘Candyman’ was revealed on Youtube at the start of March, and instantly, it seemed, the media was all over it. I was excited. As I say, before now everything ‘good’ that I’ve listened to has already been and gone. It’s like sitting down to relax into For Whom the Bell Tolls, well in the knowledge that – spoiler – they blow the bridge up. Knock Knock was the successful first chapter that you can’t predict the ending to. Candyman moves out of the introductory exposition phase and towards the rising action as we get a taste for what ‘Darlia’ really means.

The song Candyman felt a touch more mature… more honed. Society had finished saying “oh wow they’re like Nirvana, aren’t they” and with the new release had started considering Darlia to be its own act, and not just another corporate clone of something that was once novel and unique. Candyman has since been chosen as BBC R1’s Track of the Day, been played more or less on repeat on XFM and, perhaps more strangely, even made the top 40 for an indie chart in Holland as well as amassing various other accolades.

Animal Kingdom seemed to continue this with the unmistakable Darlia vocals, but this time with more obvious punky and poppy influences thrown in, too. It’s reassuring to think that, as proven by Animal Kingdom, Darlia has the versatility of sound needed to potentially remain in the public eye. Indeed, the one criticism that I did have was the the consistency of the sound up until Animal Kingdom – the Darlia sound was good, but how many times could it be heard before people wanted a change?

And as I sit behind my computer screen wondering how I went from sarcastic cynic to “please follow me, please follow me, please follow me” sort-of irritating fan, the polarisation of opinions becomes apparent. Even within my own circles there’s me saying “have you listening to Darlia yet, though? Do you like them?”, my metal-orientated friends replying with “not really man” and the inbetweeners who range from “they are a lot like Nirvana, though” to “I just don’t see the long-term appeal”. Regardless of who is saying what, however, it’s amazing that a band that to date has only released one single can stir up such a broad diversity of opinions, and if history is anything to go by then that’s surely a good sign – nobody ever made it by being mediocre.

The final track on the EP – Blood Money – feels more like a more meaty track from the Knock Knock EP in that there’s still that dramatic fast pace crossed with transitions between almost a monotone and sudden crescendos, but with a more gravelly and a more grungy tone about it.

All in all, I feel that Candyman has started Darlia off on the long road to success, demonstrating rock in Candyman, more modern jaunty pop-influences in Animal Kingdom and finally that meaty Darlia grunge in Blood Money. And if this isn’t the case, then, well, “this is how you live a life in two days”, and I hope Darlia receive the cult following that they deserve.

Candyman is due for release on the 14th April. Pre-order here