A couple of months ago here, I raved some about a self-titled album on Woodsist by White Fence, who turned out to be a guy from LA called Tim Presley with some kind of connection to The Strange Boys. I neglected to mention, however, that Presley was also the leader of another band, Darker My Love, who I’d never really heard, to be honest. I suspect the gothic implications of the name put me off.

A couple of months ago here, I raved some about a self-titled album on Woodsist by White Fence, who turned out to be a guy from LA called Tim Presley with some kind of connection to The Strange Boys. I neglected to mention, however, that Presley was also the leader of another band, Darker My Love, who I’d never really heard, to be honest. I suspect the gothic implications of the name put me off.



The third album by Darker My Love, “Alive As You Are”, very much shows what a mistake I was making. If Presley uses his White Fence alias to assail rock classicism with an arsenal of lo-fi warp, it seems Darker My Love is where he fleshes out his jangling fantasies. Much in the vein of Blitzen Trapper’s “Destroyer Of The Void”, “Alive As You Are” is a beautifully-realised evocation of the psychedelic, country-tinged fringes of ‘60s pop, with particular reference to The Byrds (“The Notorious Byrd Brothers” especially) and The Beatles.

Hardly audacious new territory for a rock band, of course, and you can follow a trail of kindred spirits to Darker My Love back through the excellent Kelley Stoltz, to LA indie antecedents like The Beechwood Sparks and The Tyde, who always seemed a bit smug and underachieving to me (one of The Beechwood Sparks is in Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti these days, incidentally).

No such problems with Darker My Love, though. Basically, “Alive As You Are” manages to be at once languid and punchy, a swift and bracing collection of insidious melodies that are blessed with an uncanny familiarity.

Sometimes that nagging sense of knowing the songs from a previous life becomes crystallised: “18th Street Shuffle” bears at the very least a working knowledge of “Within You Without You”, while the outstanding “Split Minute” sounds, as someone here noted, like The Byrds playing “Outdoor Miner”. Many of the other songs, though, are harder to be specific about, and no less strong. Try “Dear Author” at Myspace, and let me know what you think.