Music Reviews

Little Darla Has A Treat For You

Volume 21


This charming but slight collection of mostly-electronic, mostly-instrumental pop is the latest from Darla Records. The entire record is appealing and entertaining, but the majority of the songs stop short of being entrancing. After a while, there’s a sameness to them that is almost mind-numbing.

The songs sound as though they all came from the same white room full of electronic equipment. I’d love to sit and play in that room for a while, but I’m not sure how much good it would do anyone to listen to the results: This kind of pop is the synthetic version of a “jamming” band like Phish. This has the added quality of making the wondrous tracks simultaneously stand out and harder to find. But when you do come across one that endears itself to you, you love it like an awkward little ducking.

Much of the album, such as Auburn Lull’s “Steady Lights,” sounds like a synthetic film soundtrack along the lines of Wendy Carlos’s Tron. Alsace’s “Warm Tears” also seems to build on the same kind of fuzzy keyboards as a Dr. Who score. The best and most original on that front, though, is “Seleva” by Manual, which if anything, sounds like a more calm, wistful version of a Vince Clarke song.

Printed Circuit’s “Mobira” is more vocoderized electro, and God bless it for that. Sweet Trip’s airy, bent “Noise Is A Social Skill” is the most effective pop track on the record. It’s got hooks that come back to you like the outline of a woman in a summer dress.

The rest of them, well, the swans are very pretty, but they don’t seem to do much except glide around in circles.

Make way for ducklings.

Darla: [](

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