The Darien Venture
A Kite, A Key and A Storm


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
March 15th, 2013 | 29 replies


Release Date: 03/10/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A stunning collection of singles and a movement towards claiming the "fight/power/math/whatever" pop throne.

I'll admit that The Darien Venture had me hook, line, and sinker from the first time I heard "Bones," the opening track to A Kite, A Key and A Storm. The track has everything I like on the lighter side of music: shimmering technicality that knows when to light up and when to stand back, catchy leads and powerful rhythms, and vocals that never strain or stress, but still provide a powerful leading force, backed by harmonies and the sort of group chants you'd raise your fist and yell along with at a concert. From the dramatic rhythm that heralds its entrance and the bright merry-go-round pop lead that follows to the staggered and stampeded phrasing of quirky lyrics ("Give me health, give me strength and I'll steal the rest") and drawn out, almost post-rock outro, the track is laid out with thoughtful architecture and executed with power and passion. That precision, power, and passion just makes everything so grand and memorable that you probably won't be able to forget the tune, let alone doubt its quality. And, if you're like me, you'll be playing it on repeat for quite some time - at least until you hear the next track.

But while it's easy to praise "Bones" and many (read: all) of its tracks, the truth about A Kite, A Key and A Storm is a tricky one. Honestly, just about every track on this album is excellent and possesses the same traits as "Bones." They're all executed differently, mind, with tracks like "1.21 Gigawatts" kicking things off with a powerful chorus and a maintained slow flow throughout the track as opposed to "Thinks/Thoks'" Centipede Hz inspired intro, but they all have the same elements of memorable, muscular pop and dynamic, shifting rock. But the tracks don't usually flow well from one song to another, causing little cracks in the otherwise solid material that this album is made of. Each song is memorable on its own, and while you'll probably wind up remembering names, placing them at any particular spot on the album may be a chore.

If the album had a flow nearly as strong as any of its tracks, A Kite, A Key and A Storm would, undoubtedly, be the album of the year. To an extent, the lack of flow can be forgiven with the tacking-on of the EP label, but with seven songs and a nearly thirty minute run time, it's hard to give up that much slack. As it stands, the album's more a collection of new and reworked singles that could all be number one hits on the radio. If the radio chose to acknowledge the existence of thinking-man's power pop, that is.

It should also be noted that while the first two tracks of the album ("Bones" and "Ho! Criminal Face") derive a lot of influence from fellow power pop Scots Dananananaykroyd, as did the group's previous outing, Indications, A Kite, A Key and A Storm puts more emphasis on experimentation and the softer arm of their sound. While The Darien Venture still carry out a muscular, intelligent pop sound that had the trail blazed for it by the group named after your favorite conehead, this album shows them taking more ownership of that sound. Rather than simply following the beaten path, the group have picked up the tools left behind by their forerunners and started carving out a path of their own on this album.

A Kite, A Key and A Storm is a powerful third EP for The Darien Venture. With crystal clear production to back up the trifecta of power, intelligence, and emotion found on every song, it's hard to imagine these Scots flying under the radio radar for much longer. And even if they do, they put on such a sound performance on this album that they should be a big blip on your radar. If nothing else, you can impress all of the ladies by telling them you knew who they were before they made it big.



Recent reviews by this author
Damascus When Last We MetLost Ubikyst in Apeiron Abstruse Imbeciles Nailed on Slavery
Devin Townsend Project Z2Thank You Scientist Maps of Non-Existent Places
Opeth Pale CommunionRx Bandits Gemini, Her Majesty
user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.7
great
related reviews

Indications
recommended by reviewer
Dananananaykroyd There is a Way

Comments:Add a Comment 
sideburndude
March 15th 2013


2782 Comments


Lovely Album art

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

http://thedarienventure.com/album/a-kite-a-key-and-a-storm

Check it (it's really good, if you just tl;dr'd)

Now that I have written this, it is time for lunch.

This will also be posted on n0ted.net.

Digging: Damascus - When Last We Met

InfamousGrouse
March 15th 2013


3596 Comments


Got invited to the release show for this the other day. Not huge on Dananana... though so I probably won't bother giving it a listen.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

If they're not your speed, this probably isn't either, yeah. Wish I could've gone. My pre-order actually gave me a space, but I'm a few too many thousand miles from Glasgow.

InfamousGrouse
March 15th 2013


3596 Comments


To be honest, I don't mind them. In short doses they can hold my attention, their sound gets a little bit irksome after a while in my opinion though. I didn't even listen to their last record.

Haha, I'm surprised people are even aware of their existence outside of Scotland. Kudos for being informed, we do have some cool/reasonable artists on the go.

Pos btw

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


3545 Comments


Great review, man. I'm crossing my fingers that when the ghost promotions go through you're one of the new contribs - it seems a crime that you didn't get promoted.

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

henryChinaski
March 15th 2013


2848 Comments


Cool man, checking this out now. Nice review. Artwork rules.

Edit: Damn the first track rules!

humblerodent
March 15th 2013


219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pos'd. Good review, definitely digging this

sideburndude
March 15th 2013


2782 Comments


Nice review too

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

@Infamous - You might like this more than Dananana, then. This is more varied and has a lot more to offer stylistically. They both just sort of root themselves in the same basic sound, but TDV seem to take off more.

someguest
March 15th 2013


21390 Comments


Nice review. I have to hear this album.

Is 2013 the year of pop?

Digging: Pet Shop Boys - Please

toxin.
March 15th 2013


12806 Comments


Nice review, I wanna check this out now.

Calc
March 15th 2013


12374 Comments


"They're not just following the path, anymore,"

you do this comma thing a lot and it's weird but I don't think this specifically is right.

betlwedl
March 15th 2013


73 Comments


Sweet stuff. Seems like a better version of the Icarus the Owl album from last year so far.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"They're not just following the path, anymore,"

you do this comma thing a lot and it's weird but I don't think this specifically is right.



Yeah, that should really be a colon or a dash at the end there. Fixed it there.

Essentially if you have a bonus word (like anymore, which you really don't need, since you could
read the entire sentence without it, but what the hell, I like it there) you slap it with commas on
both sides. The issue in this sentence is that the first comma would also be the one to join the
first idea that "They're not just following the path" with the idea that comes afterward, which
makes it seem weird since the comma is trying to do two things. So ploppin' in a dash instead tells
your brain that it's two different pauses - one for grammar, one for effect.

Takin' myself to grammar school, awww yeah.

Calc
March 15th 2013


12374 Comments


other than that un otro good review my friend!

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks man! Let me know if you spot anything else like that. I looked this over a few times, but I did write it during my break at work today, so y'never know.

betlwedl
March 15th 2013


73 Comments


That part still reads awkwardly - "anymore" isn't the kind of interrupter you can do that with, so that whole phrase just comes off as having a comma splice. It's functioning as an adverb modifying "following". Grammatically, you should probably get rid of the comma before it altogether. The dash afterwards is fine though.

NOTINTHEFACE
March 15th 2013


1653 Comments


Wow this album is fantastic. I knew there was a reason I still came to Sputnik. :-P

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That part still reads awkwardly - "anymore" isn't the kind of interrupter you can do that with, so that whole phrase just comes off as having a comma splice. It's functioning as an adverb modifying "following". Grammatically, you should probably get rid of the comma before it altogether. The dash afterwards is fine though.


Yeah, I could do better, so I did. Changed it up completely.

That was just a weird grammar situation.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy