Strong wave

Most people who revisit the 80s delve into new wave or some of the kitchier sounds of that decade. Darkbird drives straight into the synth-drenched pop-rock of that era (think Wang Chung crossed with U2, perhaps) and doesn't bother to surface until these five tracks finish.

Darkbird EP

I'm sure a few people will hear a bit of Alison Moyet in Kelly Barnes' vocals, but the decidedly rock edge to these songs puts them more in John Waites or Terri Nunn territory.

Hunting for such comparisons is missing the fun of the music itself. Darkbird is channeling heroes of the past, but this Austin outfit sounds like it is trying to find its way into the future. As the lines swirl, it's tempting to wonder where the band might head next.

For now, though, these five songs are where Darkbird is right now. The 80s are my musical formative years, so this leapt into my ears with aplomb. A curious creature, to be sure, but one that knows how to seal a hook with sensuous vocals and serious guitar. I can't help but smile.

Jon Worley

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