Darling Machine: Don We Now Our Black Apparel

Their closets overstuffed with black threads, their vanities well stocked with black eyeliner, Darling Machine have been pretending to be rock stars since the Echo Lounge was the new club on the block. In fact, many of the songs on their newly released, self-titled LP date back to those days, having also been recorded for a CD (self-titled as well) the then-budding band put out in 2000. Have they only written four new songs in 18 years?

On the surface, there’s little difference between the old versions and these new ones. But they’re clearly recorded with more power and finesse (Jeff Tomei produced the album), and they squall and wail with noticeably harder punch. Despite their look and the somewhat melodramatic vampire vocals of eternal merch counter jockey Vernon P. Love (I’ve always wondered what the P stands for… Pookie, perhaps?), the band is far more rock than goth, more slam than glam. And as loud as they crank it, their songs are actually quite catchy and rooted in mainstream pop traditions. In other words, chicks dig ‘em and fans of The Cult will find much to appreciate. And it’s funny, but something about this band always reminds me of The El Caminos, too.