UK band DARK STARES has a history that goes back to 2011, and a prehistory that goes a further two years back when operating under a different name at the onset. Since 2012 they have been an active recording unit as well as a live band, and three EPs have been recorded and released by the band over the years. “Darker Days Are Here to Stay” is their debut full length album, and is set to be released in the first half of May 2018.

The greater majority of the music on this album reminded me of a story I’ve been told about Henry Ford, stating that he told his customers that they could order his T-Ford in any colour they liked – as long as it was black. As the album title also indicates, this is a fairly dark production as far as mood and atmosphere is concerned. It is also an album that shows that darkness and black does come in a few different shades.

The songs themselves are actually more different from each other than what you might expect. Many feature distant, sleepy vocals, backed by booming bass, gentler psychedelic tinged guitar details and steady rhythms, performed in a manner that invokes associations towards the likes of Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, but occasionally also to the punkier tinged efforts of early Gary Numan and the mainstream appeal of Feel Good Inc. era Gorillaz. The chorus sections tends to have that Muse feel to them more than anything else in my opinion, while the arrangements and instrument details have more of the aspects of the latter.

As the album unfolds we’re treated to cuts that are perhaps a tad closer to both aforementioned Muse and Queens of the Stone Age as well, a couple of tracks with more upfront and emotional vocals and tighter riffs in particular reminding of the latter, but the mainstream appeal of the band is also showcased quite nicely indeed on tracks such as Ordinary Way and the hypnotizing chorus of Hips Don’t Shake.

Dark Stares explore a type of music I haven’t come across all that often as a reviewer, but I’d hazard a guess that psychedelic tinged, dark toned alternative rock with a substantial mainstream appeal should be a fairly good summary of what this short and concise album has to offer. If that description and the artists referenced earlier on comes across as intriguing, this is a band worth listening up on.

My rating: 80/100


Track list:
1. Liquid Reign
2. Sweet Rider 5
3. Pedal Pusher
4. Darker Days
5. Animal
6. Ordinary Way
7. Hips Don’t Shake
8. Cruise Control
9. So Good
10. Their Game
11. Feels (So Sad)



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