Derring-Do presents a slice of Americana out of Greensboro, North Carolina with their album Life’s About. Having personally been through Greensboro many times myself, I can appreciate where the band’s vision was coming from. The album borders on all sorts of genres, from alternative to bluegrass and even gets a little folksy. The whole lineup is very introspective and lyrical. An interesting feature to keep in mind is there are zero love songs within the eight tracks. What you will find are a lot of life lessons and internal conversations and a general pondering around the voids in life. I wouldn’t call this a lively album and not particularly modern, but there’s a lot of intrigue soul there.
Taylor Birggs (vocals) makes for a sturdy pillar for the band. His voice is the kind that is meant to tell stories in this genre. He treats his voice properly as an instrument that is not a one trick pony. He can push hard into a country zone and then pull back into an alternative, softer tone. He also has quite a range which really helps the group dance between genres. Derring-Do is a solid pack of musicians that have been around one another awhile and it shows in their work. They really know how to weave into one another and enhance their strengths.
Derring-Do is a fully equipped band with lots of weapons in its mellow melodic arsenal. Everything from viola, to piano and even the welcomed presence of a trombone. They use everything wisely so that when that new, unexpected sound pops up, you’ll take notice. That is something I loved about this album. With the different instruments, the audio quality was obviously a priority and I feel was up to snuff. It’s a smooth listen that at no point required me to strain to hear something; it all came through at a quality level.
The one bone I have to pick with this album is that most of it sounds like the sun is setting. The sun is setting over and over again and the credits just keep rolling. Every track is beautiful with a wonderful story to tell, that all registered very well. However, this album sounds like a collection of songs that are put at the end of albums.
I have no problem with that sort of mood but certain tracks did manage to blend into one another and I got a little lost at times. There are a few exceptions to the credits rolling rule. Track seven “Goes Without Saying” offers an interesting tempo change up and really plays up the alternative angle. The track that managed to engage me the most was number five “Brooklyn Star.” This track leans way into the alternative territory and Briggs transitions his voice a little bit to accommodate. These welcomed moments of diversity were a big deal for me and I would’ve loved a few more surprises.
Life’s About is a quality album for people looking to hear something rural and relaxing. It falls under the knock a few back and relax category. I loved getting that North Carolina flavor mixed in with a fresh perspective.
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