Not much has come out of Norwich, aside from whines of “let’s be having you.” Intent on making a name for themselves for all the right reasons are alternative rockers Darwin & The Dinosaur. Who with their debut album, A Thousand Ships, look to set sail on a sea of riffs.
Like a farewell party before leaving port on an adventure that’s more akin to Blackbeard than Finding Nemo, guitar driven opener ‘Theories’ mix of angular peaks and pulsating drums embody the togetherness before setting off into the unknown.
Before, without warning, the aptly titled instrumental ‘Anchors Aweigh’ drifts through, leaving a feeling of confusion. The subtle melodies soon cease though, leading to an evil intro on ‘Making Friends With Strangers.’ Disgustingly heavy, and with enough groove to shake the depths of the ocean, this temperamentally textured beast is a raging storm…that again parts way for a rainbow as another dose of harmony drops in the form of the twinkly ‘Life At Sea.’
And it’s this recurrent pattern of melodic intermissions that lets the record down. In a scene full of copycats trying to be off-the-cuff is applaudable, but not when it comes at the expense of what could have been a seamless record.
However, when Darwin…’ dangle a line, they reel you in. Like a harpoon in the eye of a narwhal that refuses to throw in the towel ‘Riff Town Population: You’ is the sound of a frenetic mob that know how to make their gear work, combining with ease making Hundred Reasons sound like One Direction.
The off-kilter rhythms on show are delightful at times and but with more filler than killer A Thousand Ships is a disjointed and unhinged debut that leaves you wondering whether the folk from Norwich are lost or like their namesake an absolute genius. Ones to keep an eye on, maybe.