Magic Dartz

Dartz’s debut album ‘This Is My Ship’ was a revelation. All angular, urgent and sounding like a fight between XTC and Q and Not U, it was one of the defining records of 2007. With some rather amazing live shows under their belt in both the UK and Europe and gaining some very famous fans along the way, this mini album has been eagerly awaited for some time from fans and critics alike, all desperate to see if this trio can recreate the magic of their debut.

‘The Sad History...’ heralds somewhat of a change for the band. Although their previous efforts were hardly throw away pop songs, this release shows a far more laid back and considered approach. Contrived is a too strong a word for their change in sound, but the carefree, joie de vivre of their debut is a faint impression on their music here. Still retaining the thoughtful lyricism and some of the noisy nuances of its predecessor, but taking the speed down a few notches in places, it is still, thankfully, wholly Dartz in style.

Beginning proceedings with the jaunty ‘The Arrival, Building Alnerique’, it picks up quite neatly from where ‘This Is My Ship’ left off; all bouncy, shimmering and brimming with vitality and promise. But from the fifth gear, flat out drive of the first half of the album, at the mid point Dartz slip into third gear, slowing proceedings, but still retaining their signature sound.

From the intricate instrumental beauty of ‘What Happens to Places Where Spaces Should Be’ to the gentle burn and inherent lyrical darkness of ‘The Lay of the Land’ to The Smiths-esque guitar lines of ‘The End, Moving On’, with its campfire sing-along, some of their vibrancy with the loss of speed but the charm and appeal of the band still remain.

Compared to earlier efforts, this sophomore release does not have the same shiny, angular appeal of what came before but comparisons aside, by itself, is an assured and accomplished effort. Dartz are simply one of the most vital and impressive bands that we have at the moment both live and on record, and long may they reign.