Release Date: March 11, 2016
We are pretty certain that No Museums is an individual artist, we just don’t know who he is exactly. He has, however, amassed an impressive catalogue of music, both as No Museums and as Twin Library/The Public Library before that. This latest release may not rank as his finest, but it is a worthy addition nonetheless.
Although the album begins and ends with some slower numbers, the bulk of the rock/folk songs on ‘Darkening’ have a lively tempo and they all feature strong pop melodies. What makes the music special, however, are the subtle touches, such as the sudden burst of guitar distortion on “Nightfall” as the song gains tempo or the echoing guitar effects on “A Fire Alarm”.
It’s also intriguing the way we are soothed by gentle indie pop vocals while the lyrics themselves can be dark or even disturbing. The softly sung “The Perimeter North”, for example, alludes to heavily armed Waco-like communities (presumably in the western USA).
Initially there is an impression of sameness throughout, but repeated listens allows an appreciation for the individuality each track has to offer. This is a strong record. It is only the fact that No Museums have put out more exceptional music (last year’s ‘The Malcontents’ in particular) that makes this album pale a little in comparison.