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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

With Screws Get Loose Those Darlins grow up, but only a little bit

The gloss of Nashville has infiltrated Those Darlins’ second LP, Screws Get Loose, but just a little bit. The Murfreesboro, Tenn. four-piece is much savvier with its marketability now than when the group's self-titled debut appeared in the summer of 2009. But don’t fret, the slightly-matured quartet hasn't lost any of its grit. The eponymous opener boasts a bit of the story-telling structure of classic country, but like any Those Darlins song it’s paired with garage rock riffs. Screws Get Loose offers the band’s trademark rough-and-tumble take on twang, just sharpened by high-end production from Atlanta’s Ed Rawls (Black Lips, Jacuzzi Boys). “Be Your Bro” is easily the standout with an almost aggressive anthem for girls who are relentlessly hit on by guys with whom they only want friendship. There are plenty of instantly catchy, line-repeating jams here (“Hives,” “BUMD” and the super-silly “Fatty Needs a Fix”). There’s also something to be said for new ventures in the Those Darlins’ sound, such as “Mystic Mind,” where they take a dose of psychedlia to open up their “third eye.” Drummer Linwood Regensburg takes the mic for “Let U Down,” a mild depressant to the pumped-up tunes that are the bedrock of the group’s repertoire. “Waste Away” is the lightest in sound with its acoustic guitar and echoing western wails, but lyrically, it’s the heaviest of any of the group’s offerings. Despite a few successful side-maneuvers, Screws Get Loose mostly shows the band doing what they do best, country with a growl — outlaw rock and roll with a dusty, down home vibe and an uncompromising punk bite. (Oh Wow Dang!)

4 out of 5 stars

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