Verdict: How lo(fi) can you go?
Who is that guy who looks like a skinnier, whiter version of Rick James? He emerged from New York late last year with a little pop song that went "wrinkle, wrinkle little scar" and featured Julian Casablancas-like vocals over clipped, bare melodies.
That bouncy little gem Constellation opens, and makes, Darwin Deez's 12-track, debut album. Unfortunately the following 11 songs, though quirky, aren't really a match for it - the album's simplicity takes a few plays to warm to. This self-titled record definitely fits the new-age bill of being lo-fi - some tracks have been so stripped-to-basics they will make you check your speakers are working correctly - but it also dabbles in some heavy ideas with titles include Suicide Song, The Bomb Song and bonus track The Coma Song. While the second single Radar Detector is comic, upbeat and clever it still doesn't quite get under your skin quite like Constellation does.
Eccentric young frontman Deez lists a handful of band members on his website, but it is hard to pick their roles on the album as some songs have such little depth they could have been made with a few buttons on a keyboard, drum machine and strums on a guitar. Of course it seems that's the point as the one-dimensional background enhances the depth of Deez's vocals. He's talented, and could sound quite powerful against something that didn't have such a stilted, almost nervous, tip-toeing feel.