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Darlings is Broken Social Scene leader Kevin Drew's second solo album, coming seven years after his last, Spirit If.... That album fell between Broken Social Scene's last two albums before their indefinite hiatus, and came with the title appendage "Broken Social Scene presents...", as Drew still had access to the Canadian supergroup's myriad talents to help him with his own project. Darlings finds Drew out on his own, and this is obvious throughout as he gets quite personal and the songs are vastly more simple than those of BSS or Spirit If....

This drift away from the hive mind seems to have allowed Drew to relax even more into himself, which is not necessarily such a good thing. The opening double salvo of Darlings both involve sexual activities, as on the opening track he tells his partner "get the body butter baby, let's go party all night long." The second track 'Good Sex' says it all with its title, as Drew brags in a satisfied manner about how "it never makes you feel hollow." These two songs are actually two of the most enjoyable on the record, as the excitement and contentedness that Drew feels is adeptly conveyed through simple and catchy choruses.

Unfortunately after that the album settles into a post-coital snooze that it doesn't really wake from. From the third track 'It's Cool' you can practically hear Drew dropping off to sleep as though he's pawing off his lover and rolling over onto his side to get more comfortable. And you're more than likely to drift off too. Through the mid-section of the album you'll hear Drew offer to take you to a Mexican after show party, which doesn't sound all that exciting; imploring you that 'You Gotta Feel It', when he honestly doesn't seem to be "feeling" it much himself; and complaining about a 'Bullshit Ballad' on the radio, which just comes across as immature. All these songs are mid-tempo synth led fare, with barely a guitar in earshot. An explosion of that well-loved Broken Social Scene guitar attack would be most welcome injection, and even if it were just once it might have been enough to stir the listener into waking and possibly hearing some subtler qualities in the ostensibly bland songs that pack this album. Alas, there is no such moment and the listener is fated to sit through these songs briefly noting various small pleasances but remembering very little when they're gone.

The saving grace of the album is the closer 'And That's All I Know', whose title almost sounds like an admission of the vapid subject matter that's come before it. However, placed over a thumping bass-drum beat and nicely shimmering pianos, Drew's feelings finally start to resonate a little. Along with the opening couplet this is enough to know that Drew isn't quite slipping down into mediocrity, and that his next release will still be worth investigating. If it turns out that Broken Social Scene aren't going to reform any time soon, then we must at least hope that on his next solo effort Drew might call on some of them to help rouse something interesting in his songwriting again.