Stepping into the limelight with their new collaborative music project, award-winning singer-songwriters and producers Maïa Davies (Ladies of the Canyon) and Patrick Krief (The Dears) release their captivating and euphoric self-titled debut album as Darkometro.
The duo's debut single, "Never Been," firmly caught my ears and attention when I heard it in an episode of the Peacock TV series reboot of Queer as Folk. It was one of those pause-rewind-and-ask-Google "what song is playing?" moments. That 'love at first listen' encounter quickly turned me into a Darkometro fan after exploring the rest of the songs on their debut album. Top-notch songwriting, enchanting vocals and solid production that gives a nod to 90's-era britpop, shoegaze, indie pop and more are prevalent throughout. At just under 40 minutes and, according to the band, a decade in the making, I find myself putting this impressive album on repeat play.
Pardon some of my possibly-obscure musical references below as we walk through the album. They are presented with only the most complimentary intent and are meant to draw some comparisons that might resonate with and pique the interest of readers.
Debut single "Never Been" sets the Darkometro musical journey in motion as the album's opening track. This track is absolutely outstanding - you could really just stop here and realize you've embarked on something truly magical. This is shimmering, moody shoegaze/indie, complete with swirling guitars and dreamy, ethereal vocals. For my partially-obscure musical comparisons, think Swallow ("Sugar Your Mind") meets Peter Godwin ("Images of Heaven") and Robyn ("Dancing On My Own").
"I’ve never been loved back baby
The way you know me the way
I’ve never been loved back baby at all
Baby baby don’t take your eyes off of me"
The gentle-paced, piano-predominant and atmospheric "London" follows with Maïa's emotive, melodic vocals. You could almost imagine this touching torchsong having a bridge that transitions to 1970's Eric Carmen and "All By Myself."
"Dirty Love" picks up the pace with a nod to Black Cherry-era Goldfrapp (Alison Goldfrapp) with a dash of Kim Wilde embellishing its bouncy, infectious chorus.
"You can you never pull me back
I’m thirty thousand tears away from that
C’mon C’mon give me dirty love
We burn dreams to feel the low
I give it away just to feel alone
C’mon C’mon give me dirty love"
"Heaven Crashing Over Me" opens with a charming electric fingerstyle arpeggio that gives way to sweet, melodic vocals at its sentimental, upbeat chorus. Slowdive meets The Mamas & the Papas in the warm, 60's-sounding "Left Out." Beautiful harmonies and sparkling guitar riffs abound in this gorgeous, summery-sounding pop song, which incidentally was featured in Season 2 of the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building. "Holograms" takes the tempo down a few notches in this lazy, slow-paced track that conjures up minimalist, downtempo elements of Big Star ("Big Black Car").
"White Flag" is vibrant and upbeat with its Dubstar-like vibe and ethereal vocals at the chorus. Regarding the lyrical theme of "White Flag," Maïa comments, "It was a real-time experience for me, writing as I was living it, after so long of living in a love that only offered the bare minimum to me. It's about that moment where I knew I had to choose myself, and the feeling on that precipice. It's about how bravery is also lonely." Patrick comments on the track's creative process: "I set out to make a track that embodied a sort of psychedelic cocaine disco experience, honoring my love of late 70's music . Once we had the lyric I made the music to mirror its bittersweet uplifting vibe with an eerie energized and danc-ey arrangement."
"But I can’t dream on
No I can’t dream on
I’ve been waiting for love for so long"
The loungy-sounding "The Ballad of Ruby and Jacob," with Maïa's lilting vocals, channels Jane Siberry and Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) at the chorus, while Patrick's vocal delivery at the verses is reminiscent of The Wolfgang Press' Michael Allen.
"Wasted" beautifully closes out Darkometro with its hopeful-sounding piano riff that lifts this hazy, anthemic ballad. Maïa's echoing vocals sweetly and triumphantly elevate the dreamy, shimmering atmosphere that this perfect album closer creates.