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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new direction
Super talented California band DML launches Alive as You Are, their 3rd studio album and this time they have taken a very different turn from their former releases. Even though I love the crazed psychedelic style of their previous work, I must say that the new material is simply amazing, different but keeping that 60's taste with a very unique sound. Like many other great...
Published on August 19, 2010 by Alejandro

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the country
As with the psychedelic movement's drift away from density among many of its original hitmakers, so with its followers. The back-to-the-country appeal by 1969 or 1970 lured The Grateful Dead and the Byrds away from West coast urban pressures towards gentler pastures. They stripped down their lysergic or cerebral textures and let the fresh air in.

Darker My Love...
Published on August 30, 2010 by John L Murphy


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the country, August 30, 2010
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
As with the psychedelic movement's drift away from density among many of its original hitmakers, so with its followers. The back-to-the-country appeal by 1969 or 1970 lured The Grateful Dead and the Byrds away from West coast urban pressures towards gentler pastures. They stripped down their lysergic or cerebral textures and let the fresh air in.

Darker My Love does the same on their third album. It's well-produced, assured, and flows well. But it's quite a departure from their heavier sound, which I admit I prefer, so this does sway my reaction to this record. As with Angelenos cosmic cowboys Beachwood Sparks and 60's garage-protopunk revivalists Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Darker My Love shifts away from drone and depth in their third outing.

Their self-titled debut marked a neo-psych record that rivaled the best of the past twenty years of musicians who expand on what that decade started; 2 bettered the first album by a diversity that recalled late Beatles blended with a crunchier, heavier space rock and a post-punk atmosphere. This had been boosted by some of the band being recruited mid-tour when The Fall took them on as their backing band after, them being The Fall, most of its members left suddenly near the terminus of a 2006 tour in Darker My Love's hometown of Los Angeles.

This album opens with "Backseat," a lively ditty which sounds so much like the Dead that listeners may think it a bonus track from a reissue of Touch of Gray. The pace steadies as seven out of eleven tracks continue in this mode, which will please anyone wondering if American Beauty or Workingman's Dead may need performers able to deliver a note-for-note re-creation for a tribute concert. This is solid music; no song falls short of this pleasant, sunny mood.

But it's a long way up, or down, from the massive assault that created an amazing second album. Fans who may want more of that intensity must seek out the Spaceland releases made at a series of summer 2006 sessions at that L.A. club, made even before 2 in 2008 had bettered the studio debut. That follow-up's first four songs attest to their command of the songcraft that combines energy with dynamics.

Dynamics are muted on Alive as You Are.The calm mood defies the album's cover art that features a mascara-rimmed Beatle-haired fop moping behind purple-shaded shrubbery. Instead of gloom, we get glee. This album prefers a casual approach to its return to the decade it loves. While a competent record, the band's range compresses and the panoramic visions of its earlier albums reduce to a window on a garden, a nice view for a few minutes, but not as satisfying as a bracing expedition up peaks and down canyons that their other records took you through, reminding one of another L.A. exponent of dread and doom, The Warlocks, or Austin's percussion-heavy messengers of overload, The Black Angels.

A few songs manage to suggest other Sixties influences besides the Dead. "18th Street Shuffle" starts with a "Run, Run, Run" riff that smacks of the Velvet Underground and the vocals match its druggy feel. "Maple Day Getaway" keeps the Dead's shuffling pace, but adds a bit of pedal steel recalling the Byrds' country-rock period. "Dear Author" recalls "I Am the Walrus" in its beat, and "A Lovely Game" hints at the Kinks as well as fellow revivalists Lilys and more British vocal mannerisms.

But these and those Dead-like songs pass rapidly on a short album that feels for a band this talented as if dashed off rather than constructed carefully. The talent remains. But Darker My Love can do better if it wishes to show us how it can incorporate its skills into reshaping more challenging material that 2 and the Spaceland tapes have proven in a very convincing way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new direction, August 19, 2010
By 
Alejandro (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
Super talented California band DML launches Alive as You Are, their 3rd studio album and this time they have taken a very different turn from their former releases. Even though I love the crazed psychedelic style of their previous work, I must say that the new material is simply amazing, different but keeping that 60's taste with a very unique sound. Like many other great bands, DML is evolving and reinventing themselves. The sound is cleaner, with a very nice production job, and this time they seem to have given more emphasis on vocals and lyrics. Fans are making all sort of comparisons with seminal bands from the 60's and even some Country artists, but I don't want to go there. Listen to it and make your own judgement. Me ... I'm liking it a lot!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories, October 23, 2010
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Vinyl)
Judging from comments from the band regarding the development of this record, and the development of their live show, I fully expected something different with this album. My expectations were confirmed when I heard the band's two samples, "Dear Author" and "Split Minute." Upon listening to the record, I found that my expectations reached in the wrong direction, and the result was a listening experience that was completely surprising, joyful, emotionally engaging.

At every turn in the record, the band shows their flexibility, musicianship, and songcraft, showcasing their profound ability to drive your mind through rich traditions without sounding old, tired, or forced. From previous interviews with the band that I have read or watched over time, it is clear that the band fosters a certain honesty about the type of music they want to create, and it is not surprising that I find their explorations through the storied pages of rock'n'roll to be fully unpretentious and completely innocent.

The group already provided a wide pallet of sounds in their first two LPs, and this record continues a journey that does not simply run through the history of rock, but also runs through the band's own catalog. (If you are concerned with historical development, I think this record contrasts Darker My Love's previous work as Teenage Fanclub contrasts My Bloody Valentine; it also seems to be as much about The Pretty Things as it is about The Grateful Dead).

Darker My Love is a group that explores every corner of their sonic space, every implication and aspect of their musicianship and songwriting. This is where the band's flexibility comes from, and it's not a flexibility that denies them identity, but rather a flexibility that allows them to freely create without regard to identity first.

Working through the band's genealogy, the direct recording and dry production were surprising in some regard, switching the balance between vocal performance and musical performance from the previous records. However, the ringing arpeggios, shuffling rhythms, and bright timbre follow aspects of "People" and most of the latter half of the band's self-titled debut, as well as "Immediate Undertaking," "Pharaoh Sanders Tomb," and "Even in your lightest day" from 2. Within their own discography, there are several aspects to Darker My Love, and if 2 followed the path of "Helium Heels" and "Claws and Paws," this one works alongside other trends in the band's development.

Instead of emotionally reflecting against waves of fuzz and dense, layered instrumental passages, the listener is presented with immediate, earnest vocal performances that run through parables in the lyrics that invoke automatic writing, or a method of presenting images to help one to recall navigation through the world's spaces and situations.

The production and imagery of the record created an experience that was immensely enjoyable throughout; the record helped to guide me through my memories, by leading me through places that I have already visited, but perhaps could not directly recall, or failed to see from a specific aspect. This does not mean that the record looks backwards; on the contrary, an engagement in sensation and the sensible world, framing and developing memories, in turn helps us to develop our own actions and attitudes toward the world. This is perhaps the greatest psychedelic achievement of Alive as You Are; inverting the technological manipulation in favor of a direct aesthetic results in a record that sound deceptively simple and straightforward, but rewards with continual focus and reflection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead (And The Byrds, etc.) Are Alive!, August 5, 2011
By 
Jay Murphy "Jay Thing" (Landover Hills, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
I love how much this band evolves from album to album. I called their sound `first-rate psychedelia' and referenced My Bloody Valentine, The Dandy Warhols, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground in my review of their debut. By their second album I added The Primitives to the list of influences I heard and they had honed their `psyche-pop' sound further- the songs were stronger and more melodious, the band tighter.

So I grew to expect that Darker My Love would sound a bit different with each new release but this record caught me WAY off guard- in a good way. I thought Jerry Garcia had passed away years ago until I heard the great opening song "Backseat", a wonderful echo of Jerry's legendary band. Whether this CD is an homage to the Grateful Dead, The Byrds and other `60's bands that turned from psychedelia to a country/folk/rock sound I don't know but it certainly feels like it. Most of the songs on "Alive As You Are" wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Dead's "American Beauty" or "Workingman's Dead". "Split Minute" and "Trail The Line" both evoke The Byrds at their best. These songs bring happy memories to this aging child.

"Dear Author" and "A Lovely Game" are the songs that come closest to DML's earlier sound, a terrific pair of psychedelic rock gems. At just under thirty-six minutes, the time flies by almost too soon- it's a nice trip and I can't wait to hear what they sound like next time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great new sound, February 9, 2013
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This review is from: Alive As You Are (MP3 Music)
Get it! Great new indie rock sound. Terrific harmony in the vocals and very relaxing...ballads, and up beat rock too.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Falls Flat...., April 21, 2012
By 
Artemus Engle (Pacific Palisades, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
I have been following Darker My Love since the beginning being an LA native. They have been riding the incredible new mash up of psychedelic, alternative and 60-70's indie rock genre that has exploded in the last 8+ yrs. I am a huge fan of the first 2 albums and even the spaceland live EP.

This new album has no passion and in fact sounds like one long song struggling to meet the genre that goes on for an hour or so. There is some potential here but it falls flat. Its missing depth, variety and frankly the epic "guitar" play that makes their sound so good. They seem to have pushed the envelope too far and got away from the genre and actually just become a 60's rock band. Unfortunately i have come to expect more from them after their first two albums hit the LA scene. If you take anything away from this review go and listen to the first two albums.
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4.0 out of 5 stars George Harrison and Revolver Era Beatles Abound, October 18, 2010
By 
JG "wordmule" (...onward....thru the fog!) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
I can't disagree with those who make "American Beauty" period Grateful Dead comparisons, but from the inflection of the lead voice and counter harmonies, to the syncopated guitars, Darker My Love are in full George Harrison mode on this outing, leaving the listener in a psychedelic afterglow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars mellow-ish California style guitar psych-pop, September 30, 2010
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
3rd studio album from Los Angeles is a big change from the psychedelic shoegaze rock of their
2008 release "2". This time it's folky Americana psych/pop with a sweet, melodic West Coast
paisley punch. Overall, a more laid back, mellifluous affair than their last, with an increased
emphasis on creating a smooth psych/pop atmosphere over hooks. It comes across more as
"pleasant" than "rock", and will gradually emerge as either forgettable or a slow-growing gem.
Often recalls bands such as the Grateful Dead, CSNY, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Moby Grape,
Fleet Foxes, Blitzentrapper, Beatles, Byrds, Asteroid No. 4, etc. Former members of Nerve
Agents, Distillers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wont play on regular cd player, August 25, 2012
This review is from: Alive As You Are (Audio CD)
This cd will not play on a regular cd player. I had to copy it in order to get it to play in my car.
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Alive As You Are
Alive As You Are by Darker My Love (Audio CD - 2010)
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