Album Review

Darling Waste - The Skeleton Key

To be released: August 11, 2017
Morgan Minch

Darling Waste’s new album, The Skeleton Key, comes out August 11th and it's a haunting reminder that only you can save your own soul.

Painted with deep feelings of longing, reticence, sorrow, and empowerment, it is a journey in the mind that will lead you to a choice. With chasmic terrains darkened from above, it reflects on a series of love stories, with a constant manifestation of conscience luring you to open up your secrets.
 
The music of these ideas is beautiful and cold, played out with elements of classical, punk, alternative, and classic rock. Throughout the whole album you will hear both delicate and heavy themes held on the low and higher register instruments-like a highly contrasted value drawing.
 
The range in style from song to song is wide, and continues Darling Waste’s tradition of expression through every element in a song, at all times. The Skeleton Key is unlike their past albums in that the sound is controlled in bits to form chaos, and is considerably darker in tone than ever before. It is exploratory, too. If you choose to stay in for the night and want to join in the reveries of secrets and memory, this is perfect.
 
Preludes and Nocturnes (Intro)
This flight of surreal sounds thrills you, prepares you for the story inside your pensive mind.
 
Sing Along Time
A tripping, switching beat with a high, pizzicato synth sounding of madness, and a truss of forlorn bass support the unifying voices that speak for the expressionists of dark, broken, hopeful souls. This ditty is both delicate as gothic architecture and hard, like a drinking song, at different moments in the jagged layering. The many sonic layers are expertly staggered, forging a coo, like a ray of light, to resolve it all, followed by the sound of soft, slipping tuning and loosely popping strings that let you know-the resolution still has a bitter taste.
 
I am the Villain
This story seems to be a rigorous lament about being pushed away from someone, demonized, and the pain of such- ultimately creating within you the dark fulfillment of the prophecy. It is a short song, the beginning of madness, but the phrases are long to contrast it. There is an energized, feel-good guitar solo in the middle chorus that signifies the singer’s acceptance of his perceived villainy.
 
How to Avoid Large Ships
A heartbreaker has been revealed, and the protagonist sings a triumphant song to teach himself to deal. I hear Jimmy Eat World and 2000s alternative in the drums and bass chords and Queen in the whiny but flowing upward power chords. There is a deep sorrow here, but a well-wishing finish to the carved, desolate sounds being created. The horrific little voices from the intro surprise us at the end, telling us of the luring chamber that the skeleton key may open, and its promise of secrets and liberation.
 
Hurt Before

A steady heartbeat grounds the first voice, the inner voice that speaks to you. It is soft and hesitant to let love blossom. A new voice joins him, she brings in icy piano, a new heartbeat. Her voice hints at wild, but is restrained and smooth. She feels the same hurt, but wants love, and is afraid to take it on. The song is short, like a character’s aside in a dramatic production.
 
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
This power-packed punkish stream of memory is speckled with bitterness. It establishes a jaunty rhythm with spiraling, crucial reflections. It speaks of the blur and the high of newfound love. The drone of the bass tracks his moods, the quick drums his excitable state, and the sometimes meandering guitar his undying hopes.
 
Grand Guignol
“I’m not the one, no I’m not the one.” A diminished C scale is doleful and lacking color, bled white. Ruminating doubts about a love that would be tragic follow whispers like the sound of moths flitting about the singer’s head. Drenched in tears, the descent of keys in this song haunts me. Our friend who has foretold about the skeleton key elicits a gale warning not to unlock the door.
 
Hearts & Daggers
This song soars with heartfelt description of love’s first kiss, and the bitterness of past heartbreak. The music bed is simple and complementary, opening like clouds for the shining but tender voice.
 
Shattered Divine
The modern use of a scintillatingly fast beat over staggeringly slow voices indicates urgency and a reeling sense of control. This song is a call to the broken to come out, inspiring them to move on from their paralyzing sorrow. A chorus of voices glosses the middle layer of sound, giving them grace. The voice of a small girl fades in, telling us we’ve opened door 13 with the Skeleton Key.
 
Dead At 27
The layers of syncopated guitars and racing drums are featured over a deep introverted lyric, laden with regret. The anthem-like melody is bold and slowed at the chorus, while the verses pick it up. All these songs have a perfectly imperfect structure that is never a sonata.
 
Same Old Song
This alluring lullaby is the most sorrowful. A Spanish guitar leads the song into the night with a minor scale. Longing electric guitar personifies while softly arpeggiating acoustic is the ground.
 
Etheric Revenants (Outro)
You open the door with the expectation of salvation. The track fades away…

80/100