Dara by Dara (Album)

7 August, 2012 in Music Reviews

Dara

Dara peeks from the shadows where Johnny Cash was born, to write songs that lace despair with a gravelly stoicism

Dara album sleeve certain EL James has become something of a favourite among readers of, ahem, ‘novels’ that perch upon supermarket shelves. But even if you were to paint 50 shades of grey onto a porcelain sky, its air still wouldn’t be as black as that breathed by the ‘Man in Black’, Johnny Cash, the man who’s been the most obvious influence on Dara, though he also cites Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young as musical heroes.

The music found on this Asco Records release echoes some of the solemnity of Cash himself. Favourable references could also be made to Damien Rice and Tim Buckley. Track three Through The Dark even begins with a guitar melody that’s oddly reminiscent of The Beatles’ Yesterday, while at other times it’s Young’s influence that sings out, with moments in Dara’s songwriting sounding as though born of the same despair that pricked the strings that bled The Needle And The Damage Done. Yet Dara is kept from plummeting into the abyss by his country-fried guitar lines and the honey-drenched granite that lines his vocal chords. Licks of spittle bind to his smoke dried voice, which grip his cold chords with a sobering sense of inner security and betray the stoicism of a man who has decided that the weight of the world won’t pull him under.

Dara may be born of the same world that Johnny Cash inhabited, one laced with shadows. But where Cash felt forevermore that he echoed from the darkest corner of that world, Dara is peeking out, letting the grey illuminate him and push him towards the light.

Verdict: Walking the line between the porcelain and the black

Damien Girling