Album Review: American Darlings – ‘Afterglow’: sophisticated and psych-infused

OUT NOW digitally on Spotify and Bandcamp is the album, Afterglow from the American psychedelically-infused alt.rock band, American Darlings.

Afterglow starts with “You’re Not Alone”, initially a warm, acoustic guitar haze which at first just meanders, before the whirligig of gently fuzzed-up and flange guitars fires in. Gentle 60s-style vocals glide in as the soundscape weaves and twists, little inspirations and influences becoming apparent; from US college rock of the 80s, to a more stadium indie-rock sound of the 90s, perhaps evoking The Smashing Pumpkins at their poppiest.

With bouncing, bright, pedal-laden guitars, “Slowly Show Me” has an ethereal charm. Vocals start to soar as this song unfolds and cascades some marvellously hook-infused vocals and guitar riffs. There’s a hint of the catchy alternative rock-edge of US legends Redd Kross.

“Lonely Hearted” provides texture and variance in mood as a slower tempo and a ballad-like pop-rock sensibility shines throughout. It’s a very strong tune with an infectious 70s’ vocal direction juxtaposed with a more alternative feel. Imagine a hybrid of Sonic Youth with The Osmonds or ABBA.

The album then shifts up a gear with the fuzzy-punk meets psychedelic-pop of “Metamorphic Mind”, whilst the drum-infused jangle-pop of “Coming Back For More” with its memorable vocal stylings and more retro edge, conjures the spirit of Magazine.

“Skyline” is the perfect finish to the album. Similar to the first track, “You’re Not Alone”, there’s a weaving from acoustic into crunchier rock, with some wonderful vocal work.

The musical textures and sophistication of American Darlings is really gives the band a chance to showcase their talents. There’s a sound reminiscent of Big Star, John Lennon’s solo output and Teenage Fanclub as “Afterglow” gently rocks to its end.

Get yourself a copy of American Darlings’ Afterglow over at Bandcamp now.

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