Review: Darwin’s Deez’s new album is a let down

Ryan Morris

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Darwin’s Deez’s self-titled 2011 album was one of the most fun indie-pop albums I think I’ve ever heard.

The lyrics were both witty and refreshingly happy. You really got the feeling that this strange little man – who is very, very odd-looking – is as happy as a clam all the time.

The music videos for “Radar Detector” and “Constellations” were nothing short of perfect in a bizarre and wonderful kind of way.

That’s why the fizzle-out follow-up to “Darwin Deez” is that much more disappointing to fans. After hearing a couple of songs on “Songs for Imaginative People,” which was released on iTunes Tuesday, Feb. 12, you get the impression that Smith recently went through a breakup, and he just can’t pull off bitterness very well.

The record is self-produced by Darwin Smith in Asheville, N.C. Though it was a noble attempt, the result is a little messy. Most songs on the album do not flow mechanically and many of the tracks rely on weird electronic background noises in an attempt to be “experimental.”

It appears as if Smith is trying just a little bit too hard to be eclectic, and the result is a much less-than-stellar album.

Some of the lyrics are straight up weird, too. The opening track “(800) HUMAN” gets right to Smith new “edgy” vibe. He gets pedantic – or maybe just whiny – with his comments on society and consumerism.

“And yes even angels fall for legalese / So lead us not into late night TV,” he sang in a strange stanza that seems to want to rewrite the Our Father. OK Darwin, get off your soapbox, I just want to dance.

With lines like “You’re sweet but you’re messed up / Your best friend is a red cup,” it seems Darwin’s “Radar Detector” girl from the previous album is sort of a mess, too.

It’s not all bad, though.

The beat in the background of “Moonlit” and lines like “I’m on a career path to the fridge and back” (which definitely made me chuckle), remind me of the old Darwin Deez.

“No Love” is a solid track as well, with the synth noises kept to a minimum and a simple keyboard leading the background track. The lyrics stay down-to-earth here as well, with none of the bizarre nonsensical lines that Smith seems to have taken on a frustrating habit in “Songs” of delivering with utter gravity. However, two good songs and one good line was definitely not enough to make me accept this new, overly-kooky progression.

At best the less distinct songs on “Songs for Imaginative People” make for OK background music. At worst, they make you reach for the ibuprofen to cure your sudden electro-pop-induced headache.

Here’s hoping that “Songs for Imaginative People” is just a bump in the road of what will be a long-lasting and cheerful indie-pop career for my favorite mustachioed hipster.

Rating: Two out of four stars.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter