“Pesticide is used to kill pests. Fratricide is when you kill your brother,” explains Darlingside’s Dave Senft. “A former teacher of ours used to say ‘kill your darlings,’ which is to say, if you fall in love with something you’ve written you should cross it out. We like that idea and we thought a good name for it might be ‘darlingcide’, but we changed the ‘c’ to an ‘s’ because we’re not super into death.” The naming of the band reflects the arch humor, cryptic wordplay, and playful banter that the four close friends share on and off stage—but the music Darlingside plays is serious, cinematic, and deeply moving.
On Birds Say, the Massachusetts-based quartet’s wide-open arrangements are marked by the skillful vocal interplay of the four singers. When bassist Dave Senft, guitarist and banjo player Don Mitchell, classical violinist and folk mandolinist Auyon Mukharji, and cellist and guitar picker Harris Paseltiner gather around a single microphone and let their richly-textured voices loose, they splash their melodies with a sunny melancholy that brings their lyrics to vibrant life. Subtle musical shadings take cues from 60s folk, chamber pop, bluegrass, classical music, and modern indie rock, while aching harmonies are complemented by tones from the harmonium, frailing banjo, 12-string electric guitar, Wurlitzer, auto-chord organ, and grand piano. The result is a collection of quietly passionate songs that defy easy categorization.
PRAISE FOR BIRDS SAY
“the best harmonies in the business […] inventive instrumentation and brilliant songwriting.”
– PopDose, 12/20/2015
“Birds Say is a sonic gem to be envious of and is one of the great albums released this year”
– The Huffington Post, 9/18/15
“fresh, vital and organic […] Darlingside balances retro and contemporary with discreet aplomb”
– American Songwriter, 9/18/15
“exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop”
– NPR Music, 9/15/15
“locomotive folk-pop confections so richly executed it’s hard to tell if it’s one voice or 12”
– Rolling Stone, 9/15/15
“we couldn’t recommend listening to the [Birds Say] highly enough.”
– Pop Matters, 9/14/15