Those Darlins: Making Un-Country Noises

May 17, 2011
Originally published on September 13, 2017 10:25 am

The three women who front Those Darlins are all surnamed Darlin the way The Ramones were all surnamed Ramone. But the acoustic two-steps on their 2008 debut didn't sound very Ramones. True, "Wild One" talked the talk and "DUI or Die" hit pretty hard for a public service announcement. But it was a relief when the lead and title track of Those Darlins' Screws Get Loose kicked off with some very un-country noises.

The young woman freaking out in "Screws Get Loose" is wild one Jessi Darlin, the top singer and writer in a band where everybody sings and writes. The bassist is Kelley Darlin, and the lead guitarist Nikki Darlin. The drummer they took on after they formed — thus turning Those Darlins from a trio to a mixed-gender quartet — doesn't get to call himself Darlin. But it's Linwood Regensburg's propulsion that makes Those Darlins' loud guitars go boom.

Singing "You Give Me Hives" is Nikki, in a song about the physical manifestations of thwarted lust that she wrote with the band's drummer boy. So, yes, Those Darlins get randy just like other rock 'n' roll wild ones. Note, however, that the album's first single, "Be Your Bro," has a different idea.

Those Darlins isn't afraid to call itself a feminist band. It's hardly asexual. But its members aren't the female equivalent of hard-touring horn dogs, either: During her turn in the spotlight, Kelley Darlin lays out the limited rewards of love on the road in a proud, realistic and rather wistful song called simply "Boy."

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Tennessee is also home to Those Darlins, a girl group that began with a distinct country twang. But its latest album, "Screws Get Loose," finds the band embracing more straightforward rock 'n' roll. Our critic, Robert Christgau, thinks that's a good thing.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: The three women who front Those Darlins are all surnamed Darlin, the way the Ramones were all surnamed Ramone. But the acoustic two-steps on their 2008 debut didn't sound very Ramones.

True, "Wild One" talked the talk and "DUI or Die" hit pretty hard for a public service announcement. But it was a relief when the lead and title track of Those Darlins' "Screws Get Loose" kicked off with some very un-country noises.

(Soundbite of song, "Screws Get Loose")

THOSE DARLINS (Music Group): (Singing) (Unintelligible) took a little trip uptown.

CHRISTGAU: The young woman freaking out in "Screws Get Loose" is wild one Jessi Darlin, the top singer and writer in a band where everybody sings and writes.

The bassist is Kelley Darlin and the lead guitarist, Nikki Darlin. The drummer they took on after they formed, who turned a girl trio into a mixed-gender quartet, doesn't get to call himself Darlin. But it's Linwood Regensburg's propulsion that makes Those Darlins' loud guitars go boom.

(Soundbite of song, "You Give Me Hives")

THOSE DARLINS: (Singing) You give hives. You give me hives. (Unintelligible).

CHRISTGAU: Singing "You Give Me Hives" is Nikki, on a song about the physical manifestations of thwarted lust that she wrote with the band's drummer boy. So yes, Those Darlins get randy just like other rock 'n' roll wild ones.

Note, however, that the album's first single has a different idea. It's called "Be Your Bro."

(Soundbite of song, "Be Your Bro")

THOSE DARLINS: (Singing) I want to be your brother. I want to be your lover. I want to be your bro. (Unintelligible).

CHRISTGAU: Those Darlins aren't afraid to call themselves a feminist band. They're hardly asexual, but they're not the female equivalent of hard-touring horndogs either. On her feature, Kelley Darlin lays out the limited rewards of love on the road in a proud, realistic, rather wistful song called simply "Boy."

(Soundbite of song, "Boy")

THOSE DARLINS: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

NORRIS: Our reviewer is Robert Christgau. The latest album from Those Darlins is called "Screws Get Loose." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.