Forgive me for one moment. When this album landed in my review pile, for a split second I thought I’d received the new one from 1970s UK doo-wop revivalists Darts. But this is The Darts, four garage psych girls from Phoenix, Arizona; two of which are from the fuzz and Farfisa sounds of The Love Me Nots. Phew!
Me.Ow. is The Darts’ debut long player and it’s full to the brim with 1960s garage inspired tunes that would make the mainstream girl groups of that era blush in their sequinned miniskirts. This is the Shangri-Las with guitars!
The Darts’ have clearly spent some time in Kid Congo Powers’ guitar closet as primitive, filthy rock ‘n’ roll runs set the tone whilst the vocals verge on PJ Harvey backed by a pissed-up Ronettes. The bass is heavy, prominent and fuzzes and grumbles á la the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the organ keys add a sinister, haunting overtone, like Leslie Hardy’s time with the Murder City Devils.
Things get sultry with The Cat’s Meow, dark and swampy with Gonna Make You Love, more soulful with The Detroit Cobras-esque Not My Baby, straight–up with The Generator and splashed with 1960s pop sensibilities via the fantastic Get Messy (check out the video below, it was released yesterday). The album is fittingly closed with a cover of The Trashwomen’s Batteries which sounds like it was recorded in a shoebox (i.e. bloody ace).
If the year was 2002 then the NME would’ve been all over The Darts, lumping them in their so-called ‘New Rock Revolution’ category with the likes of The Von Bondies, The Beatings, Yeah Yeah Yeahs et al. Thankfully it’s not 2002, and good garage psych has always been around for those in the know. Besides, The Darts don’t need the NME as a stamp of approval; they’re way too cool for that.
Such is the vibe on Me.Ow. I’m kicking off my hi-tops to awkwardly twist the night away on my talced up kitchenette lino floor. Move aside, Vincent Vega. I’m going in with The Darts! Ginge Knievil