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Album Review: Hate It Here by Darklands

Rhode Island emo/shoegaze act Darklands release their new album Hate It Here on 18th May via Atomic Action. Formed in 2013 by long-time friends bonded by an obsession with Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Built To Spill, a bunch of (arguably) terrible DIY hardcore bands, and every Creation and Matador release.

After a string of well-received EPs, the band now prepares to release an ambitious LP recorded by Trevor Vaughan, that hints at the bands potential yet somehow never quite realises it. Perhaps most damning is the fact that this would just about qualify as an album, coming in at shy of 28 minutes and eight tracks. It feels a little rushed and half formed, there’s meat on the bones but it’s not enough for a meal.

Things get off to a promising start with the forthright and driving ‘Control’. It’s sad emo with touches of shoegaze done to the highest standard. Any hopes of a great album are dashed when you suddenly release that you’re on track six and the intervening four tracks have completely passed you by. You’ll have to give them another couple of listens (at least) for them to register, it’s bland and impressionless.

The final three are excellent in comparison, in the real world they’re strong and not much more. ‘Freemont’ has an infectious groove that you imagine would sound huge live, whilst ‘Northern Ignorance’ explodes into Sonic Youth style cacophony. The discordance is a rare, invigorating high point. ‘Like A House On Fire’ feeds off the strength of the previous two tracks and excels in its ambience. It does what the rest of the album should have done and connects emotionally with the listener.

AD Rating 5/10


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