I distinctly remember when I received a promo copy of the new Darker My Love record, 2, in the mail a couple of months back. I had been digging the single "Two Ways Out" that had been getting some spins on Indie 103.1, so I dropped the disc right in the player after opening up the envelope. I think I had sensed it a bit before, but upon listening to the entire album, all I could think of was how much they sounded like the second coming of The Dandy Warhols. Then, a couple of weeks later came news that they'd be hitting the road this fall with (wait for it...) The Dandy Warhols! Well, I guess I wasn't the only one who noticed the resemblance.
Download: Darker My Love "Two Ways Out"
Fortunately, it seems as if the Dandys took to Darker My Love's sound as flattering homage rather than flat out rip-off, and as a listener I'd have to agree. There are very strong similarities, but chances are one would not flat out confuse any of Darker's songs for a forgotten track on 13 Tales of Urban Bohemia. Speaking of that title, perhaps that is the main difference between the two bands...the Dandys had/have an urban bohemian vibe, whereas Darker My Love seem merely bohemian. (If I didn't know any better, I'd probably guess Darker My Love was from Portland and the Dandys were from L.A.; not the other way around)
This perception was further driven home in seeing the band for the first time live last Friday. I guess I was expecting them to look like a bunch of young, drug-addled hooligans ala the extended cast of the Dig! movie, because I was a bit surprised when I walked in the venue to find a rather modest and somewhat hippy-ish looking clan doning the stage. Of course, a band's "look" should not dictate one's enjoyment of music, but sometimes it is indicative of their performance aesthetic. There certainly was an element of that here as Darker's stage presence was rather reserved in a jam band kind of a way. There certainly was no Courtney Taylor-Taylor-esque swagger or topless Zia-level debauchery going on, just some steady stoner-rocking with minimal movement. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I certainly enjoy many bands with a similar aesthetic. However, preconceptions can be a bitch and since I thought I heard a new version of the Dandys, I also wanted to see a new version of the Dandys. And because they didn't live up to my warped preconceived notions, I ended up feeling a rather ambivalent about the performance.