Monday, 15 February 2016

Record Review - Darren Middleton

Published in Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday February 12.

Darren Middleton

Powderfinger guitarist Darren Middleton has long since emerged from his former band’s long shadow and can now be classed as a solo artist in his own right, as he releases the second album under his own name, following up from his initial post-Finger release, Translations, in 2013.

Splinters is an eclectic beast, to say the least. Dark, electronic tracks like ‘Right Here’ sit alongside wavery, folk numbers like ‘Unless You Want Me To’. A touch of country permeates tracks such as ‘Farrows’. Trademark Powderfinger pop/rock makes an appearance. And it all seems to work, coming together as a collection of songs that while differing in style, are united via Middelton’s velvet vocal and his tight, poignant songwriting.

A slew of female vocalists make guest appearances, including fellow Brisbane artist Sahara Beck (one to watch in her own right), Missy Higgins, Mia Wray and Kelly Lane, all contributing fine harmonies, which add a nice bit of colour. This is a mature record, one which marries Middleton’s experience with his relatively newfound freedom on an album where he’s not afraid to explore, sometimes within the one song, which does little to dull its quiet allure.

Samuel J. Fell

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