via Grateful Music
I sincerely cannot remember the last time I felt so uplifted after listening to an album before I heard Birds Say by Darlingside. And don’t get me wrong, not every song is happy. The songs that make up the album span the entire range of human emotions, so by the time it is finished, I feel like I have unloaded all of my troubles, triumphs and everything in between off of my chest. The veteran quartet of Darlingside, based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, currently consists of Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin), David Senft (bass), Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar), Don Mitchell (guitar, banjo), and they are spearheading a new movement in pop music. I must admit, I generally stray away from anything that could possibly be considered “pop music” in today’s world, but these guys are something else. Soaring harmonies, both vocal and instrumental, put all of my emotions at ease and allow me to think and breathe clearly, as if, for the first time in ages, everything is alright… everything.
The album opener, “The Ancestor,” fills us with a message of hope, singing “But I will find my way / Out of the dark someday” with angelic vocals and powerful imagery. “White Horses” takes a beautifully somber and nostalgic turn, while “Harrison Ford” brings about a light-hearted, playful sentiment. The buoyant “Clay & Cast Iron” puts us into a dreamy state of mind, flawlessly utilizing the benefits of space in music. “Go Back” picks up the pace with more of an upbeat tune and a semi-contradictory words of hope. “My Gal, My Guy” has a softer feel than the first few songs but gets dark and spacy toward the end. The title track, “Birds Say,” turns even softer, almost benign, as the celestial voices sing the hypnotic and cryptic hook, “Don’t know what the birds say / Don’t know what the birds / Listen to them all day / Nothing sounds like words.” The album takes another turn as it gives way to the melancholy “The God Of Loss,” led by the crying violin tugging at our heartstrings. “Water Rose” provides a short interlude into “Do You Ever Live?” a spiraling roller coaster of harmonic vocal perfection. “She’s All Around” winds things down a bit before one last surge of emotion in “Volcano Sky.” Finally, “Good For You” closes the album on a pleasant, positive note, with jovial mandolin and more of the pristine vocal harmonies that permeate throughout the record.
I honestly do not know what else to say about this album besides that it is impossible not to feel uplifted by the end. Artists around the world strive to evoke emotion from those who consume their works, and I cannot remember the last time I felt so deeply emotional after an album. Birds Say was released on September 18, 2015. Give it a spin!
Review: Randy Harris