Darker My Love’s 2 is an ink-bloomed valentine to the bloodied, barbed-wire kissed chain of bands (puns intended) that stretches from the Reid brothers’ taut fuzz-pop to Kevin Shields’ sine-drone majestics to the album that the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s first LP hinted at and their subsequent discs brutally, repetitively squelched. Cohesive where their first album was amorphous, 2 roots itself firmly in the shoegaze-revival genre without drowning in the tarpit of that scene’s trappings. Despite a band name that Rorschachs imagery of eyeliner’d dandies with Scissorhands hair setting their diary entries to morosely anemic goth-schlock pop, this is an album that textures its gritty, nicotine-sweat rockers with coruscating waves of lustrous, even gorgeous, popshimmer guitar grooves and melodies.
It’s a surprisingly balanced LP, one in which the brutal crush of the slash-riffed hooks and leg-slapped backbeat of “Northern Soul” share space with the high-end vocal swoons and cough-syrupy Beach Boys drones of “Even in Your Lightest Day” or “All the Hurry and Wait.” And, unlike some other nu-gazers, they fall closer in line with a band like the Silversun Pickups, in which their influences prism into waves of new sounds rather than wind-tunneled echoes of whatever vinyl spirals were spinning in their apartments before the drive to the studio.
More so than their debut, Darker My Love’s 2 succeeds in filtering their feedback-riddled family tree into a work that not only stands on its own but also that casts a large and branch-gnarled shadow from which their fellow bands will have to sound twice as good in order to escape.