Drew steps out as soloist
Kevin Drew’s last solo record, “Spirit If ...” was preceded by a “Broken Social Scene Presents:” before its title. It was an easy way, one might suppose, to remind people that Drew is the frontman for Broken Social Scene, although other band member Brendan Canning got the same treatment on his first solo record. So it was as if those albums were still tied to the main band.
That introduction is nowhere to be found on “Darlings,” and the sound of Drew’s new record is a marked split from the washed-out fuzz and heavy reliance on guitars of “Spirit If ....” In its place is a much more personal, solitary statement, a true stepping out for Drew as a solo performer and songwriter. So it makes sense that Drew’s voice is clear and high in the mix here, the songs behind him lush and building, subtle enough that we focus not solely on layers of sound but also on what Drew has to say.
If the sonic shift marks a break from what we expect, some of what Drew has to say does not. He is still fascinated by sex in all its physicality, but he manages to use the physical to get somewhere more complicated. It’s tough to start your opening song with “Get the body butter baby, let’s go party all alone,” and yet the song works its way to somewhere aching and personal, not tawdry. “Good Sex” is the lead single and has a video with plenty of good-looking couples in all manner of undress and coupling. And yet the song feels bittersweet, hung up on the act perhaps but more interested in what’s brimming under the surface.