Price paid: $3
Purchased at: The Vinyl Underground, Kent OH
“Walk on by with your head in the sky, dream in candy coloured shadows”
Classify under: Post-C86 proto-Twee.
The Darling Buds were a UK (Welsh, more specifically) group that specialized in short jangly tunes with strong hooks and psychedelic arrangements. Along with their sister bands The Primitives and Transvision Vamp, they helped to define the feminine side of the great Britpop resurgence of the late 80s.
As an aside- This ‘Blondie Configuration’© (my term, patent pending), as illustrated here by The Darling Buds, was a common structure during this period. Consisting of a female vocalist (preferably blonde) with a male backup band (ideally three in number) it is generally considered the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing band alignment possible. But I digress…
‘Crawdaddy’ is their sophomore album and showed the band evolving into a tighter and sophisticated unit, far more nuanced then they were just a few years earlier with 1988’s ‘Pop Said…’ The lyrics are simple and disposable, the attraction of the album comes from the swooping dreamy wall of sound. Track names like ‘Honeysuckle’, ‘Crystal Clear’, and ‘Tiny Machine’ hint at the almost tactile nature of the music; songs hang like objects with wavering specific gravity in a sea of inky colours.
Here’s the video for ‘Tiny Machine’, the first single off the album:
The cover art is top notch, as was all of their product from this period. Rich, dreamy colors vacillating between the abstract and the representational. Warhol with the saturation turned to eleven. Note the ‘flower’ motifs used both here and in the video linked above, imagery enlisted by just about (or so it seemed) every UK band during this period. It was employed as shorthand to represent the 60’s culture that many drew their inspiration from, but with the Darling Buds I guess one could argue a more direct link, due to their name…
I’d been after this album on vinyl for YEARS. I could have bought one on eBay at any time I know, but I was holding out to find one ‘in the wild.’ It’s not an easy album to find, at least in the states anyway, as it never saw a US release on vinyl. Even harder still is to find one in excellent condition.