Hailing from Minnesota, Darling Drive is a solo acoustic project from Enrique Aguilar. He recently released Shipwrecked, which is a lo-fi 11-song album that revolves around an acoustic guitar (and an occasional piano) and his voice. The recording suffers from poor production, Aguilar often sings out of tune and the simplicity of the songs can make the journey through the entire album feel long. With that being said there are a couple of decent songs on this album that he can use as a foundation to build upon.
Aguilar opens with a melancholy number called “In The Wake,” which puts his fragile voice front and center while he picks single notes on his guitar. When the chorus hits Aguilar starts to strum the chords and his voice crackles attempting to hit notes that he ultimately fails to reach. He sings, “I've been awake for so long now, But I've never felt more aware. I could stay here forever, and I've never felt more alive.”
”Pass Us” is a marginal acoustic instrumental piece while “Pennsylvania” rarely deviates from the initial guitar melody. Aguilar implements effective vocal harmonies on “Defect,” which give his vocals body. He also implements a number of odd production changes. For instance his guitar goes from having a muddy tone to sounding more crisp. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. “In Effect” is another instrumental piece but this time revolves a simple piano melody. Aguilar closes the album with what sounds like noodling on “Elliott Bay.” It’s sporadic as Aguilar utilizes an unconventional structure. He sings “Elliott Bay, you hear the sound. Underwater, city round. "Cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells" Cityscape, you can't escape. Gushing waves, the city's cape.”
The production on Shipwrecked is hard to get past. Some reverb and filtering would have benefitted songs (at least it would have covered up the parts where Aguilar was out of tune). Aguilar has some decent ideas and some songs have potential but ultimately it still needs refining. This is a good effort that could have a benefitted from a bit more attention to detail.
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