Lost & Found: The Darling Buds – Pop Said…
Look up “jangly” in the modern dictionary of pop idioms and you’re likely to see The Darling Buds. There was something inveterately cheerful about the Newport quartet – irrespective of lyrical themes – within a splendid debut album, their first of three, led by opener and their one Top 40 hit, Hit The Ground.
A basic understanding of economical pop was a strength – of the 12 tracks on Pop Said…, nine are less than three minutes long, hitting verses hard and choruses harder before exiting, yet at no point sounding short of ideas.
Highlights include Burst, Spin and She’s Not Crying, with Andrea Lewis on fine form, her distant, inattentive vocals complementing stellar guitar from Harley Farr. The shortest track at 2:01, Shame On You, sounds like a one-take improvised jam and is excellent for it. You‘ve Got To Choose has a post-punk vibe, while closer Things We Do For Love has horror-film laughter that comes in long after the fade for no apparent reason.
Without Transvision Vamp’s vanity or The Primitives’ coolness, The Darling Buds were foiled by their own unwillingness to shout about themselves within the so-called ‘blonde’ movement in late-80s guitar pop, as well as some rubbish record-company politics. Pop Said… peaked at No.23 on the album chart.
Written by Matthew Rudd