The Darling Suns is a five-piece indie folk rock band out of Chicago. Led by singer and songwriter Robert Krause, the band also includes John Stenger, Sam Rorie, Lindsey Ward and Nate Olson. The band was initially formed solely for the purpose of backing up Krause for live shows, but soon became a band in and of themselves with all the members collaborating. It is at once clear as to why this happened when listening to the band’s debut eponymous five song offering. The band, though somewhat new, really gels together on this record and brings with it a power that solo performers just don’t have on their own.
The opening song is full of beauty and majesty as the fiddle, backing female vocals and rather soft pitter-patter drums really create a lush atmosphere and the guitars are less prominent which I found refreshing for the genre. Krause still leads the charge here, and his vocals have a buoyant twang to them as he sings about what else, lost love. Next on “Ghost” Krause brings his guitar to the forefront, yet that fiddle is still there, and gladly so as it just adds so much more dynamic to the song. It makes it airy and also sets its roots right there in the alt-country stylings that Krause is trying to create.
Another marvelous aspect of this backing band is their ability to lend fervor and flavor to the more upbeat offerings such as they do on the finely wrought piece of countryish pop that is “Willow Tree.” Likewise the beautiful, meandering ballad “Wash Your Blues Away” would not be what it is without the gentle accoutrements of percussion and fiddle that make it such a majestic piece of music. Nor would the closing track “Heart of Gold” a gritty and bluesy rocker that had me wanting more of the same be as grand.
In just five songs The Darling Suns cover a lot of ground within the folk-rock genre and they do it very well. It’s a refreshing addition to a genre which I am a big fan of but to which I find many offerings of late to be rather yawn-inducing. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears out for more from this outfit, hopefully in the near future.
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